Salvemos La Playa marzo 2014 4

Mientras seguimos gestionando para que CONAGUA firme la instalación de la Mesa Técnica del Alamar, el sábado 22 de marzo celebramos el Día Mundial del Agua. Environmental Health Coalition en el marco de las actividades de Salvemos la Playa, se encargó de la coordinación de la limpieza en el Arroyo Alamar, con el apoyo de CESDI y RECIMEC.

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El objetivo del evento no es solamente limpiar la zona. El objetivo es hacer conciencia a través de la acción del impacto que tiene en nuestro entorno las acciones cotidianas que realizamos, pero principalmente, hacer conciencia a la población de que todo lo que hagamos río arriba va a afectar río abajo. El Arroyo Alamar después de recorrer 10 km se convierte en Río Tijuana y finalmente desemboca en el Estuario del Río Tijuana.

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En el Arroyo Alamar asistieron 200 voluntarios y levantamos casi dos toneladas de basura. En el evento general de Salvemos la Playa con 15 sitios en Tijuana y Rosarito se recolectaron más de 13 toneladas con la participación de 1,500 voluntarios.

Salvemos La Playa marzo 2014 3

 

national-city-fireIt's the nightmare we all wished wouldn't happen, but it does.

On march 23 at about 5 p.m., the E & S Autobody Shop located on Hoover Street and 11th Avenue exploded. Many of the Old Town National City residents communicated the incident to us here at EHC. They reported hearing explosions next to their homes, followed by a fire and toxic fumes. The black cloud of smoke could be seen from J street in Chula Vista, and the fumes are lingering even twelve hours past the incident.

Although unfortunate, it is not a surprise.

Jose Medina, an Old Town National City resident who lives roughly a block and half from the exploded business, shares how E & S Autobody Shop "is a big violator of clean air regulations in the 'hood'; continuously painting outside in the public way, in a neighborhood with homes and schools."

In fact, since 2011, residents together with EHC have reported over 20 code complaints for E & S Autobody Shop because of the business' unlawful painting of cars on the street and its after hours operation.

old-town-national-city-fireE & S Autobody is one of dozens of industrial uses located in the Old Town National City community threating the health, safety and quality of life of these families every day. We see the everyday life impacts these businesses have on humans reflected in children's asthma hospitalization rates in National City that rank above the county's average. In addition, the city currently ranks in the top 5 percent of California Environmental Protection Agency's CalEnviroScreen tool, which identifies communities that are disproportionally burdened by multiple sources of pollution.

In order to resolve this incompatible land use issue, EHC has worked with the community to phase out these industrial uses. The amortization ordinance that was passed in 2006, grants the City Council of National City the ability to order industrial uses (non-conforming uses as a result of the 2010 Westside Specific Plan) to be terminated within a reasonable amount of time, upon recommendation of the planning commission. National City is currently implementing the phase out of the first two businesses.

Today, the phase out of these toxic uses is ever more pressing. We cannot wait for one more explosion or a fire next to Kimball Elementary. Old Town National City residents deserve to live in a safe and toxic free community.

 

national-city-auto-body-firenational-city-fire-residents

Warm(er) weather, setting our clocks forward an hour, more daylight in the evenings and more pollen in the air: Spring is here. And with spring often comes spring cleaning, a yearly ritual where we revamp our homes by decluttering, dusting and buying every cleaning supply in stock. But many store-bought cleaners are actually harmful and full of toxic chemicals that you and your family breathe in long after the cleaning is done. Set a new tradition in your family with easy, hand-made and toxic-free products.

image (39)With these tips from our Healthy Homes Experts, you don't have to worry about your loved ones breathing toxic chemicals and you can have the cleanest, healthiest home possible. 

  • Buy non-toxic cleaning ingredients. Combinations of vinegar, baking soda, lemon, salt and dish soap can get the job done.
  • Declutter.Clutter makes excellent hiding places for unwanted guests such as mice, roaches and spiders. Spring cleaning is the perfect opportunity to clear the unnecessary items taking up space in your home. 
  • The kitchen.
    • Kitchens accumulate tremendous grease which becomes a food source for roaches. Mix baking soda, salt and dish soap together to make a great grease-cutting cleaner.
    • Clean the garbage disposal with a cut up lemon, salt and a few ice cubes to get rid of any residue or lingering smell.
    • Eliminate odors from the trash can by pouring baking soda into the can before replacing the plastic trash bag.
  • The bathroom.
    • High humidity in the bathroom causes black spots and mold around the shower area. To prevent this from building up, keep a spray bottle of a water and vinegar solution underneath the sink and spray the infected areas. Another solution is to open the windows (if possible) or keep a ventilation fan on for five to ten minutes after a shower. 
    • Clean the toilet bowl with baking soda instead of bleach.
    • Rub a lemon on water stains in the shower to make them disappear. 
  • The living and dining room.
    • In these rooms, focus on cleaning your windows, furniture, carpet, floors and curtains with a non-toxic solution made of vinegar, dish soap and water mixed in a spray bottle. This solution works like magic with dust around window sills and for removing stains on carpet or furniture.

Happy spring cleaning, everyone!

 

Did you know the Port of San Diego oversees 5,333 acres of public land? Of that 5,333 acres, 3,520 are water and 1,813 are land along the shore. Yet only eight percent of the 5,333 acres is parks, while 70 percent is currently "leasable land," also known as available space for big, industrial manufacturers or hotels and commercial operations.

Can you imagine how different San Diego would be if more than eight percent of the Port's 5,333 acres included parks, paths, benches, viewpoints and more for community members? 

Port of San Diego tenantsWe have a chance to tell the Port that is what we want. Now, the Port of San Diego is asking for our feedback as it drafts a new plan for land and water use for the next 50 years. Eight environmental organizations came together to recommend guiding principles to include in the Port's vision for the San Diego Bay, and now we must join them and make the community voice heard even louder. 

Please take a few minutes to fill out this survey (also available in Spanish) and let the Port know you want:

• Clean air
• Clean water
• Safe, reliable and accessible public transit
• Protection of natural resources in and along the Bay
• Increased recreational opportunities along the Bay, including access to the waterfront, parks and more

With your help, we can request the Port of San Diego lead the way in environmental justice. The Port has an opportunity to set an excellent example for the city by prioritizing nearby residential communities and pollution reduction, just as they did with the recent start-up of Shorepower on the 10th Avenue Marine Terminal. 

EHC has already prepared its recommendations, now it's your turn to recommend the Port take action by:

• Pursuing immediate action to improve public health by reducing air and environmental pollution
• Ensuring that Port and tenant operations don't continue to negatively effect the health and safety of adjacent residential communities
• Commiting to taking all available action to reduce the cumulative health burdens on Barrio Logan and National City
• Proactively ensuring that ecology of San Diego Bay is enhanced, not degraded, over the next 50 years
• Adopting clean air and clean freight policies that are aggressive and effective
• Implementing the Climate Action Plan and meet local pollution reduction goals and develop a plan to protect areas from sea level rise and other effects of climate change

Join us in specifically asking the Port to make San Diego's next 50 years clean, safe and healthy – a future we all deserve.

 

sunset at Mission BeachTired of seeing your energy bills go up while your air keeps getting polluted from dirty power plants? Brace yourself; we might be in for more of both. On top of the rate hikes proposed for low-energy users to help out the energy hogs, we're likely to see rake hikes from new gas plants too.

Here's the scoop:

A few weeks ago, the California Public Utilities Commission— the state agency that regulates large energy providers like San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E)— voted in San Francisco to approve SDG&E's application for Pio Pico— an unnecessary gas power plant in Otay Mesa. This will cost SDG&E's customers (that's you) $1.6 Billion in rate increases, plus the rising cost of the gas itself, plus the 685,626 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent each year, or about 130,000 cars-worth of climate change causing pollutants.

Less than a week later, the California Public Utilities Commission announced a draft plan to let SDG&E replace the now-closed San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station with 1.6 times more power than we got from the generating station in the first place. What's worse is that they're proposing to allow SDG&E to produce that power with polluting gas. The Commission may vote on this proposal in just a few weeks, again in San Francisco.

So what's the problem?

We shouldn't pay to build more power than we need.
Pio Pico isn't necessary to keep the lights on, neither is the state's proposal to replace the generating station with way more energy than we need. Building more energy than we need—dirty or clean—comes at a cost because we'll be paying for all that infrastructure whether we use the power or not.

We shouldn't approve new gas plants during a gas shortage.
Somewhere in between the state's approval of gas-fired Pio Pico and the unveiling of the plan to let gas plants replace the generating station, SDG&E had to ask customers to reduce their energy use due to a shortage of gas reserves. Seriously.

San Diegans deserve to be heard by our public decision-makers. 
San Diegans and southern Californian's have made clear in polls and local rallies they want to see more clean energy in their neighborhoods, not fossil fuels. But our voices are not making it up to San Francisco, where the California Public Utilities Commission is deciding our energy future. Travelling to San Francisco to influence Commission decisions is business-as-usual for SDG&E and parent company Sempra, as is made clear by their lobbying report; but for the average resident the cost and time of the trek is prohibitive. We asked the Commission for a local hearing on Pio Pico and on the replacement plan for the generating station, but our requests have been denied. Is it fair that the utility and its gas-peddling parent company are the only "locals" who can afford to have their voices heard?
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What's the solution? 

We should replace the generating station with clean, renewable energy, when needed.
At a time when Californians— especially low-income communities of color— are increasingly feeling climate change impacts, we can't afford to allow more polluting and expensive gas plants that harm our climate, our health, and our wallets. Gas plant prices are on the rise and they pollute; clean energy costs keep dropping and it doesn't pollute our air. Shouldn't this be an easy choice? Let's make a firm commitment.

We deserve better.
For the sake of our health, our future, our wallets San Diegans deserve for our decision makers to make a firm commitment to clean energy, not leave the door wide open for the utilities to build more gas plants and hike our rates at their discretion.

And for the sake of democracy, local residents deserve to have a say in what kind of energy produced their region and powers their homes and businesses.

We demand better!
Join EHC, the California Environmental Justice Alliance, and communities around the state in demanding a clean energy future! Sign the petition today!