National City map for website

Environmental Health Coalition's current efforts in National City

Community Planning – implementation of the Westside Specific Plan and relocation of polluting industries; development of affordable housing 

Healthy Kids – reduce asthma and other illnesses associated with poor housing and air pollution 

Green Energy/Green Jobs – improve the housing stock through energy efficiency and installation of solar energy and create green jobs for community residents 


National City is the second oldest city in San Diego County. Its modern history started in 1868 when Rancho de la Nación was purchased by the Kimball brothers. Hopes of a railroad spurred population growth, but when it didn't materialized the population dropped from 5,000 to 1,500 in 1873. Growth was slow, and based largely on agriculture. The transcontinental terminus of the Santa Fe Railroad was built in 1885 and the City was incorporated in 1887.

The Westside area, also known as Old Town, is an area bordered on the west by Interstate 5 and the east by Roosevelt Avenue stretching from W. Plaza Boulevard south to W. 24th Street. During the early development of National City, small single family homes were constructed in Old Town. Many of these early homes constructed around the turn of the century still remain. After World War II, to encourage economic development, industrial uses were permitted in the area.

In an interest to resolve the conflicting land uses, the community encouraged the City to develop the Westside Specific Plan. The Council embarked on the preparation of the Westside Specific Plan in 2005 to comprehensively address environmental and land use issues, leading to this plan that reflects residents' aspirations for their community. This Specific Plan was prepared to address concerns of the impact of incompatible land uses expressed by the community at numerous City Council meetings and at several community workshops.

Environmental Racism

Environmental racism is not easily defined but easy to recognize; it is the cumulative impacts of environmental, social, political and economic vulnerabilities that affect the quality of life of a community.


Area  2010 Population   Non-White   Under 18   18 and Older   Families in Poverty   Renter Households 
 National City  39,831 88% 26% 74% 23% 76%


Pollution Burden

According to the San Diego County Department of Environmental Health, National City is currently home to 32 million pounds of hazardous substances and 870,000 cubic feet of toxic or hazardous gases. Just the top 10 polluters release 150,000 lbs. of toxic or smog forming air pollutants per year. In comparison, La Jolla has 3.8 million pounds of hazardous gases. 

National City asthma hospitalization rates in 2010 for children ages 0-17 were 122/100,000 compared to a countywide rate of 87.


EHC's History/Successes in National City

  • Westside Specific Plan Ordinance (changing the zoning) passed: August 3, 2010 
  • Westside Specific Plan passed: March 2010

View these documents on National City's website