Working to Promote Healthier Clean Air Standards in NJ
CfET has been working the past few weeks to help draw attention toward a problem that continues to affect many New Jersey communities. The problem, called cumulative impacts, refers to the total amount of air pollution that a community must endure. There is a disproportionate number of communities like this located in lower income, minority communities like Camden.
When a resident takes in a breath of air, the toxins and particulates that enter their lungs could have come from truck traffic, trash burning, power generation, sandblasting, metal shredding, industrial solvents, or any number of other types of commercial activity. Each one of these pollutants reduce air quality on their own, but it is the total cumulative effect of all pollutants present that residents must endure.
Currently, whenever a new polluting industry moves into a New Jersey community, they apply for permitting from the DEP based only on their own emissions. There is no accounting for any existing air pollution in these permitting decisions. For residents, however, each new pollution source adds to the total problem and makes their air quality and their health worse. We cannot continue to permit facilities as if each industry causes pollution exists in isolation. The residents of our state deserve better than that.
We have been supporting the work of the Ironbound Community Corporation in Newark and the NJ Environmental Justice Alliance, both of whom have been working on this issue and pushing for legislative action for many years. Please join us in advocating for environmental justice and don’t hesitate to reach out to either of these organizations, or to CFET to see how you can help.
About the Grantee
The Center for Environmental Transformation (CFET) manages three gardens in Camden. CFET has an innovative youth program that uses urban agriculture to develop young minds and teaches healthy eating. We host service learning retreats focused on the environment and food justice and have recently began focusing on community organizing around environmental justice issues in our neighborhood.