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Study Links Landfills To Race and Poverty

By Catherine M. Welch

Wilmington, NC – New research finds a link between landfill locations in North Carolina and significant minority populations.

After sifting through more than 500 permits on record at the North Carolina Department of Waste Management, researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that landfills were twice as likely to be located near communities with a minority population of more than 10% and average housing worth less than $100,000.

UNC-Chapel Hill epidemiology professor Steven Wing says the study also found that landfills were located in 97 of the state's 100 counties.

So the facilities are fairly well spread across the state, however they are located disproportionately in communities of color and communities with lower housing values.

This is the first study done on the location of solid waste landfills. It was presented last month at the state capitol to a new committee formed in response to the state's one-year moratorium on new landfills.