Cancer Alley Campaigner Wins Goldman Prize For Environmental Defenders

"Sharon Lavigne, a retired special ed teacher, led a successful campaign to block construction of a toxic plant in Louisiana"

"A retired special education teacher from Louisiana who led a successful grassroots campaign to stop construction of a toxic plastics plant in America’s Cancer Alley has won the 2021 Goldman prize for environmental defenders.

Sharon Lavigne, 68, organised marches, petitions, town hall meetings and media campaigns after elected officials gave the green light to the construction of another polluting factory in St James parish – a majority-Black community already blighted by heavy industry and exorbitant cancer rates.

The proposed $1.25bn Chinese-owned plastics plant would have generated a million pounds (450,000kg) of liquid hazardous waste every year, including hundreds of tonnes of methylene diphenyl diisocyanate, a carcinogenic chemical that affects respiratory function, as well as carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, formaldehyde and benzene."

Nina Lakhani reports for the Guardian June 15, 2021.


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Source: Guardian, 06/16/2021