Tag Archives: urban

Newark passes country’s first Environmental Justice Ordinance to protect residents

Newark Drawbridge & Skyline by Bridge Street by erodzen
Source: Newark Drawbridge & Skyline by Bridge Street by erodzen via Mapio
Newark, NJ – The City of Newark made history when the Newark Municipal Council passed a first-in-the-nation Environmental Justice and Cumulative Impacts Ordinance which will require the Board of Adjustment and Central Planning Board to receive additional information from development applicants in order to build in a healthy and sustainable way.

“I want to thank the Newark Municipal Council, Mayor Baraka and his Administration for passing the First Environmental Justice and Cumulative Impacts ordinance in the country,” said Kim Gaddy, Newark resident and Environmental Justice Organizer for Clean Water Action. “I started this fight 9 years ago with my colleagues and today I’m so proud of my City and the Leadership. Newark will be a vibrant and sustainable city. Kudos to the Newark Environmental Commission for keeping this Ordinance as a priority for the City.”

The City of Newark and urban communities face higher levels of pollution from multiple sources including toxic waste sites, industrial plants, and heavy city and port traffic. The “cumulative impacts” of these pollutants are making people, especially children, sick. In the City of Newark, asthma is the city’s biggest crime. Statistically speaking, more people die of asthma than homicides. School age children in Newark have double the state and national average rate (25%) for asthma resulting in most missed school days and unaffordable medical bills.

Newark residents face the nation’s 2nd greatest cancer risk due to diesel emissions. The city is home to the largest trash incinerator in the Northeast, which pollutes the air and costs the city over $9 million in disposal costs. The city is also the 3rd largest port in the nation with 7,000 trucks making an estimated 10,000 trips daily. Many of these toxin-spewing rigs are antiquated and pollute at least 10 times more than modern trucks.

The goal of the Environmental Justice & Cumulative Impacts Ordinance is to advance Environmental Justice, good stewardship, and sustainable economic development in furtherance of the priorities outlined in the Newark Sustainability Action Plan and the Newark Master Plan. Through this Ordinance, the City of Newark seeks to:

  1. Protect the health of all residents, regardless of race, culture or income, from exposure to pollution linked to adverse health effects, including the cumulative impacts that may be worsened as an unintended by-product of new development or redevelopment, and to ensure the enforcement of laws, regulations, and policies in a manner consistent with the principles of Environmental Justice.
  2. Take appropriate action to avoid, minimize and mitigate pollution from all sources within Newark’s jurisdiction through partnerships, innovation, and enforcement.
  3. Encourage proposals for development or redevelopment that contribute positively to Newark’s environmental, economic, and social health or, at minimum, that do not contribute net new pollution to the environment or adversely impact public health.

“As a Newark resident and parent, this legislation will protect the residents from the disproportionate health burdens experienced because of the zip code we live in,” concluded Kim Gaddy.

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Become a Newark treekeeper this summer with 3 free classes at Weequahic Park!

Newark Treekeepers 2016
Source: NJ Tree Foundation
NJ Tree Foundation’s FREE TreeKeepers workshops are back this June at Weequahic Park! Learn all about trees and how to properly care for them.

Tools and a light dinner are provided at each workshop. My sons and I took the workshop in 2014 and it was awesome.

The 3-session workshop series is free but you must RSVP to Elena. Seats are limited, so why not do it now?

What is polluted urban air doing to exerciser’s bodies?

bike riding in smog
New York metro environmental specialist Dr. Ana I. Baptista muses, “This story and study on how much air pollution we take in while exerting ourselves raises interesting questions for EJ communities.”

From the WNYC article on air pollution and exercise:

Fine particles, many of which are made up of black carbon, are linked to a wide array of heart, respiratory and other health problems. Using statistical models, city health officials estimate fine particles cause more than 2,000 premature deaths and 6,000 emergency room visits and hospitalizations each year. Most of those are in vulnerable populations: the very young, the very old, and people with conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease and hypertension.

But actually measuring fine particles, particularly at the level of specific streets, is tricky. Measuring how many of them get into the lungs is even trickier. And linking that exposure to health outcomes is trickier still.

If you’re interested in participating in the WNYC – Columbia U exercise study on this health issue, sign up here.

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