Thursday, April 18, 2013

Report Highlights Impacts of Urban Air Pollution

By: Nathan Lamb

A recent Sierra Club report indicates that disadvantaged communities in Michigan face greater health risks due to pollution, according to this story in the Detroit Free Press.

Impacted by activity from automobile plants, steel mills and other industry, Detroit and nearby River Rouge and Ecorse, are among the most polluted Midwest cities.

The report cites a University of Michigan study suggesting that 81.5 percent of Detroit’s African American students attend schools in high air pollution areas, compared to 62.1 percent for Hispanics and 44 percent for whites.

Compared to the rest of the state, adults from Detroit are 50 percent more likely to have asthma, according to the Michigan Department of Community Health.

Included within the report is Detroit Renewable Power, a solid waste incinerating operation and the state’s fourth largest producer of nitrous oxide emissions. Ninety-four percent of its neighbors are African American, with an annual median household income $7,308 lower than the city average.

The Great Lakes Works steel facility in Ecorse was listed as another major producer of emissions. The city has a poverty rate of over 30 percent.

Sierra Club representatives asked that regulators adopt stricter environmental standards to protect those communities.

Founded in 1892, the Sierra Club is a grassroots environmental organization with 1.3 million members nationwide.


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