Environmental Justice Health Facts in LA
Drive by Pollution
Almost a century of auto-centered development, financing of freeways and roads, white flight suburban sprawl, corporate deregulation, and billions of dollars of oil subsidies later, we get smoggy Los Angeles. Often referred to as the car capital of the world, Los Angeles is home to over 7 million daily automobiles and holds the number one title as the city with the worst ozone pollution.
As we all know communities located near stationary and mobile sources of air pollution are more likely to be affected by asthma, heart disease, and other health problems. In Los Angeles, Black people are 3 to 4 times more likely to die from an asthma attack than any other demographic. Latinos make up 40% of the city’s population, but 60% of them live adjacent to stationary sources of pollution. Black, Brown, and Asian Pacific Islanders are three times more likely to live near high traffic roads and highways than whites as a result of corporate driven and racially discriminatory policies made by the government.
At the same time these communities are the least likely to drive or own a private car and often rely on mass transportation to get to their low wage jobs across town. In Los Angeles MTA's policies of bus service cuts, fare increases, and the continuing balancing of budgets on the backs of poor bus riders to finance multi-billion dollar rail lines for "choice"--meaning whiter and affluent riders--only intensifies environmental racism and the public health crisis.
Toxic facts about about auto addicted LA:
- 27% of greenhouse gas emissions come from private cars and trucks
- Los Angeles ranks #1 in the nation for daily emissions of Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) and Volatile Organic Compounds such as Benzene and 1-3 Butadiene from auto.
- Over 59% of land in central Los Angeles is covered by freeways, streets, or parking lots.
- Los Angeles ranks last among major cities in per capita open space with a mere 1.107 acres per 1,000 residents--only 34% of children in Los Angeles are within one-quarter of a mile of a park with the five poorest City Council districts in Los Angeles have only 17% of the total neighborhood park space. (www.lanlt.org)