What’s new: EDF partner, South Bronx Unite, has just launched an interactive data visualization that’s mapping what residents of the South Bronx have long experienced—that air pollution from industrial facilities is taking a disproportionate toll on the health of residents in their community and across New York City. For the last year, a multi-disciplinary team at EDF has been collaborating with South Bronx Unite to improve local air quality monitoring and create engaging tools that tell the stories found in monitoring data.
Why it matters: Every city relies on large industrial facilities, and New York City is no exception. Think waste transfer stations, power plants, printing facilities and warehouses that support in-time delivery services. Many of these facilities are major air polluters in the neighborhoods where they are placed. Beyond the facilities themselves, the heavy-duty vehicles that they attract, such as large delivery trucks, are among the leading polluters on the road.
What we know: For decades, South Bronx residents have faced disproportionately high air pollution and asthma rates. Leveraging recent EDF research that describes air pollution’s burden of childhood asthma, the new webpage now backs up residents’ lived experiences with even more quantitative information, presented as a narrated interactive visualization that helps tell the story.
How the work has been used: Presenting this additional data in an easy-to-understand format will help advance tangible policy change that can improve health outcomes in the South Bronx and beyond. South Bronx Unite leaders recently participated in NYC Climate Week events where they used this tool to tell the story of their air quality monitoring efforts and what they will mean for public health.
Moving forward: South Bronx Unite will continue to use the air quality and health insights from this new tool to advance their advocacy goals. They have begun working closely with the EDF New York State team to build consensus with local coalitions.
Real policy actions are already taking shape in New York that could help alleviate the health impacts of warehouses and other polluting facilities in the South Bronx and across the state. In November 2023, state lawmakers introduced the Clean Deliveries Act, which would require the state to review the negative impacts of so-called “mega-warehouses” and establish emissions reduction plans.
South Bronx Unite brings together neighborhood residents, community organizations, academic institutions and allies to improve and protect the social, environmental and economic future of the South Bronx. Learn more about their work and how you can support it at southbronxunite.org.