Worst air in black areas

first_img President Clinton ordered the government in 1993 to ensure equality in protecting Americans from pollution, but more than a decade later, factory emissions still disproportionately place minorities and the poor at greater risk, the AP found. In 19 states, blacks were more than twice as likely as whites to live in neighborhoods where air pollution seems to pose the greatest health dangers, the analysis showed. Nearly half of Missouri’s black population, for example, and just over half of the blacks in Kansas live in the 10 percent of their states’ neighborhoods with the highest risk scores. Similarly, more than four of every 10 blacks in Kentucky, Minnesota, Oregon and Wisconsin live in high-risk neighborhoods. And while Hispanics and Asians aren’t overrepresented in high-risk neighborhoods nationally, in certain states they are. In Michigan, for example, 8.3 percent of the people living in high-risk areas are Hispanic, though Hispanics make up only 3.3 of the statewide population. The average income in the highest-risk neighborhoods was $18,806 when the Census Bureau last measured it, more than $3,000 less than the average for the rest of the nation. One of every six people in the high-risk areas lived in poverty, compared with one of eight elsewhere, the AP found. Unemployment was nearly 20 percent higher than the national average in the neighborhoods with the highest risk scores, while residents there were far less likely to have college degrees. Research over the past two decades has shown that short-term exposure to common air pollution worsens existing lung and heart disease and is linked to such diseases as asthma, bronchitis and cancer. Long-term exposure increases the risks. The Bush administration, which has tried to ease some Clean Air Act regulations, says its mission isn’t to alleviate pollution among specific racial or income groups but rather to protect all populations facing the highest risk. “We’re going to get at those folks to make sure that they are going to be breathing clean air, and that’s regardless of their race, creed or color,” Deputy EPA Administrator Marcus Peacock said. Peacock said industrial air pollution has declined significantly in the past 30 years as regulations and technology have improved. Since 1990, according to EPA, total annual emissions of 188 regulated toxins have declined by 36 percent. Still, Peacock acknowledged, “there are risks, and I would assume some unacceptable risks, posed by industrial air pollution in some parts of the country.” In Louisville, Ky., Renee Murphy blames smokestack emissions in the “Rubbertown” industrial strip near her home for the asthma attacks her five children suffer. Her neighborhood, which is 96 percent black, ranks among the nation’s areas at highest risk from factory pollution. “It’s hard to watch your children gasp for breath,” she said. The Murphy family lives just a few blocks from Zeon Chemicals, which released more than 25,000 pounds of a chemical called acrylonitrile into the air during 2000. The chemical is suspected of causing cancer, and the government has determined that it is much more toxic to children than adults. Tom Herman, corporate environmental manager at Zeon, said the plant is reducing its emissions and is talking with area residents concerned about air quality to show that “there are real people working here concerned for them as well as our own health.” Air pollution “works with many other factors, genetics and environment, to heighten one’s risk of developing asthma and chronic lung disease, and if you have it, it will make it worse,” said Dr. John Brofman, director of respiratory intensive care at MacNeal Hospital in the suburban Chicago town of Berwyn. “Evidence suggests that not only do people get hospitalized but they die at higher rates in areas with significant air pollution,” he said. Environmental experts say most pollution inequities result from historical land-use decisions and local development policies. Also, regulators too often focus on one plant or one pollutant without regard to the cumulative impact, they say. Citizens in high-risk neighborhoods have little legal recourse. They can file lawsuits under the 1964 Civil Rights Act but must prove intentional discrimination. And while some federal agencies ban environmental practices that result in discrimination, the Supreme Court says private citizens can’t sue to enforce those rules. Citizen complaints have had little effect. From 1993 through last summer, the EPA received 164 complaints alleging civil-rights violations in environmental decisions and investigated 47. Twenty-eight were dismissed; 19 are pending. “Any time our society says that a powerful chemical company has the same right as a low-income family that’s living next door, that playing field is not level, is not fair,” said Robert Bullard, director of the Environmental Justice Resource Center at Clark Atlanta University. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake The air in the neighborhood where Kevin played is among the least healthy in the country, according to a little-known government research project that assigns risk scores for industrial air pollution in every square kilometer of the United States. An Associated Press analysis of that data shows black Americans like the Browns are 79 percent more likely than whites to live in neighborhoods where industrial pollution is suspected of posing the greatest health danger. Residents in neighborhoods with the highest pollution scores also tend to be poorer, less educated and more often unemployed than those elsewhere in the country, the AP found. “Poor communities, frequently communities of color but not exclusively, suffer disproportionately,” said Carol Browner, who headed the Environmental Protection Agency during the Clinton administration when the scoring system was developed. “If you look at where our industrialized facilities tend to be located, they’re not in the upper-middle-class neighborhoods.” With help from government scientists, the AP mapped the risk scores for every neighborhood counted by the Census Bureau in 2000. The scores were then used to compare risks among neighborhoods and to study the racial and economic status of those who breathe America’s most unhealthy air. CHICAGO – Kevin Brown’s most feared opponent on the sandlot or basketball court while he was growing up wasn’t another kid. It was the polluted air he breathed. “I would look outside and I would see him just leaning on a tree or leaning over a pole, gasping, gasping, trying to get some breath so he could go back to playing,” recalls his mother, Lana Brown. Kevin suffered from asthma. His mother is convinced the factory air that covered their neighborhood triggered the attacks that sent them rushing to the emergency room week after week, his panic filling the car. “I can’t breathe! I have no air, I’m going to die!” last_img read more

South Africans get free access to parks for a week

first_imgTo build South Africans’ pride in the country’s natural, cultural and historical heritage, South African National Parks (SANParks) is offering free entry to citizens during SANParks Week. It runs from 12 to 16 September.“When people take pride in the national parks, they will start to understand the importance of conservation,” said SANParks acting head of communications, William Mabasa.#FreeAccess to National Parks starts in 2 weeks. Which Park will you be visiting? https://t.co/LrfOWBBpBL pic.twitter.com/xnfKFLkVGn— SANParks (@SANParks) August 30, 2016Started in 2006, the theme of the week this year is “Know your national parks”. Access to the parks is free to South Africans with a valid identity document; however, entry will also be free to children under the age of 16 without proof of identity.“It should be noted that the free access to the parks will not include accommodation and any commercial activities in the park such as guided safaris in vehicles or guided walks, etc,” said SANParks.Mabasa said this year’s SANParks Week would include exhibitions showcasing the myriad geographical regions of the parks. “The expo will include cultural, conservation, nursery and tourism aspects from the community, rangers and various conservation entities in order to highlight the broader South African biodiversity landscape.”Click here for a detailed list of the parks taking part in the initiative.Source: SANParks and South Africa.info reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using SouthAfrica.info materiallast_img read more

Mary Kom extends contract with IOS

first_imgNew Delhi, Nov 27 (PTI) Six-time world champion boxer M C Mary Kom Tuesday extended her commercial partnership with sports management firm IOS by signing a 10-year deal with the company. IOS has been managing Mary Kom since 2009. Mary Kom recently scripted history by winning her sixth world title, making her the most successful boxer in the tournament’s history. “In the last 10 years I have only focussed on my game and entire commercial work was perfectly managed by my team IOS. Looking at smooth working with them, I have decided to extend this relationship with them,” Mary Kom was quoted as saying in a press release. “I would like to continue working hard on my game and want IOS to manage commercial aspect exclusively,” he added. Welcoming the extension of relationship with Mary Kom, IOS MD and CEO Neerav Tomar said, “I would like to congratulate Mary on winning her sixth historic World title. We look forward to this extended relationship and hope to establish a stronger brand Mary in the days to come.” IOS also represents other top Indian athletes such as Vijender Singh, Hima Das, Manika Batra, Mirabai Chanu, Manpreet Singh, and Jinson Johnson among others. PTI PM PMlast_img read more