EHC says results from pollution-screening tool paint clear roadmap to environmental justice
In early January, California released the updated version of its pollution-screening tool, CalEnviroScreen. The new data indicate that Barrio Logan, Logan Heights and National City remain among the top five to ten percent of communities in the state most impacted by pollution. Environmental Health Coalition (EHC), the only environmental justice organization in the San Diego region, says the most up-to-date information spotlights the neighborhoods that have long lived with an unfair burden of pollution and demand immediate action from local governments and regulatory agencies in 2017.
CalEnviroScreen combines environmental, health, and socioeconomic information to identify communities most affected by pollution. Since the last version, released in 2014, the state has added new factors to measure cardiovascular disease and housing cost burden, as well as incorporated air-monitoring data from the border region to more thoroughly evaluate air quality in border communities.
“With more precise methodology for estimating diesel exposures to residents, National City’s air quality score for diesel pollution increased by an alarming 34 percentile points,” says Joy Williams, research director at EHC. “We’ve always known that poor air quality threatens the health of National City residents, and this new information warrants immediate action to protect our families and children.”
Communities south of I-8 experience the impacts of pollution with increased emergency room visits for asthma and heart disease. According to EHC, new data should be used to make more-immediate decisions that provide relief to San Diego’s low-income communities of color.
“CalEnviroScreen continues to show that low income communities of color are hit first and worst by the harmful effects of pollution and climate change,” says Diane Takvorian, executive director of EHC. “Our elected officials have an urgent responsibility to implement policies that closes the equity gap in these neighborhoods.”
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH COALITION: Founded in 1980, Environmental Health Coalition (EHC) builds grassroots campaigns to confront the unjust consequences of toxic pollution, discriminatory land use and unsustainable energy policies. Visit us online at http://www.environmentalhealth.org.