Project Title: Martin Aaron Incorporated: How Hurricane Sandy unearthed Camden’s never-ending poison
About the Author: I am a Information Technology undergraduate at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. I have moved to Burlington, NJ almost 3 years ago and the city of Camden is a short train ride away. After learning about how the city completely restructured its law enforcement system, I was curious how this place that seems more connected to the grassroot handled its numerous environmental issues.
Camden is a city that has a interesting history of its predominantly Black population taking the lead on issues affecting them and finding solutions. One decades-old issue that the city still have yet to correct is their handling of toxic waste sites. The worst one is the Martin Aaron Incorporated site that are said to have been cleaned up by official government sources. In 2012 Hurricane Sandy brought flooding that reintroduced the area to its improperly handled soil and groundwater contamination. This is a site that has been cited as problematic as far back as the 1980s and became a superfund site. Knowing Camden’s history of activism, how did the community respond to this and why was it seemingly not enough? There’s a clear pattern of negligence when it comes to the environmental health of minority communities and this may be one of the worst examples of such. This is a place that actually received resources for its help and still came out far from short.