The majority of Environmental Health Coalition's work supports residents in low-income communities of color in urban areas of San Diego County and the communities around San Diego Bay.

Port of San Diego

Environmental Health Coalition has a long history of involvement with the Port District, from securing a ban on methyl bromide fumigation at the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal to placing fish consumption warning signs at piers to helping it develop an Integrated Pest Management Plan for its parks and buildings.

San Diego Bay

Environmental Health Coalition's Clean Bay Campaign began in 1987 with the goal to clean up, restore, and protect San Diego Bay as a clean and healthy multi-use water resource.

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Children attending schools in the Tijuana communities of Colonia Chilpancingo and Colonia Campestre Murúa are exposed to high levels of diesel particulate matter, according to research conducted by Environmental Health Coalition and Colonia residents. Exposure to diesel exhaust is associated with serious health hazards including cancer, asthma and heart problems.

From December 2008 through April 2009, EHC and members of EHC's affiliate, the Colectivo Chilpancingo Pro Justicia Ambiental, conducted air quality sampling and traffic counting at three school sites – the communities' kindergarten, elementary school and high school. Analysis of the data showed that traffic volumes and ultrafine particulate levels are higher at the three school sites than at the control site.

Fifty percent of the trucks counted during sampling bore both U.S. and Mexican license plates, indicated they are licensed to operate on both sides of the border and are likely servicing the Maquiladora industry. Shortcuts past the schools save drivers time and fuel, but there are existing main arteries surrounding the neighborhood which are appropriate truck routes.

The community's conclusion that trucks needed to be banned from these streets was confirmed by a study conducted by Edgar Rodríguez of the San Diego State University Graduate School of Public Health. Working in cooperation with the Autonomous University of Baja California, he examined the relationship between roadside pollution and traffic counts to assess the potential exposure of these pollutants in elementary school children.

He concluded that high pollutant levels were present and justified re-routing commercial trucks away from residential neighborhoods and schools.

The community organized a successful petition campaign and trucks are now banned from the streets that pass the schools.

On October 17, 2010 EHC and our Mexican affiliate the Chilpancingo Collective for Environmental Justice marked an important victory in the bi-national campaign to restrict maquiladora truck traffic from Colonia Chilpancingo, where diesel emissions from the trucks have caused respiratory problems for school children (link to page about the testing).

Signage was posted in August banning the trucks from the streets where the schools are located. EHC, alongside members of the Collective and its Youth group, conducted a campaign for more than two years seeking to restrict semi-truck traffic driving past the three public schools in the neighborhood.

Semi-trucks serving the maquiladora assembly plants take shortcuts through the neighborhood. As a consequence, 2,000 school children and everyone who lives and works in the area are exposed to high levels of diesel emissions. Diesel emissions are associated with serious health risks, including asthma, cancer and heart disease. More than 1,000 supporters signed the petition circulated by EHC, the Collective and Youth group demanding a halt to the invasion of semi-trucks from the adjacent industrial park, the largest in Tijuana.