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Adrian Martinez’s Blog

Its Time to Clean Up and Green Up Los Angeles

Adrian Martinez

Posted April 15, 2013 in Curbing Pollution, Environmental Justice, Green Enterprise, Health and the Environment, Living Sustainably

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The Los Angeles City Council is currently exploring an innovative program to address the severe, disproportionate impact of pollution on three of the most overburdened communities in Los Angeles—Wilmington, Pacoima and Boyle Heights.  The Policy is called Clean Up Green Up, and it will be heard in the Planning & Land Use Management Committee on Tuesday.

Overall, I see a lot of environmental policy work—and Clean Up Green Up is amongst the most innovative programs I’ve seen in a while, with implications for the entire nation. When we make it work in LA, cities across the country will look to our model. That’s a very exciting prospect.  But, its important that the foundation for this important program move forward this week.

In the last American Lung Association annual State of the Air report, despite decades of work, Los Angeles received a failing grade on air quality.  In fact, many of the people suffering the most from this failure are located in the three communities addressed by this innovative program. Tragically, every year thousands of residents in the region die prematurely from air pollution and millions get sick just from breathing polluted air. 

Improving our air quality means curbing the toxic stew of pollution emitted from diesel trucks and factories.  We need strong planning to meet this challenge.  That’s why I am so enthusiastic about the Clean up Green Up policy.  Clean Up Green Up takes on a wide range of pollution sources in local neighborhoods.  Clean Up Green Up is good because it stems from collaboration between community, the city and local businesses.  By using efficient and effective urban planning, Clean Up Green Up has great potential to transform these communities.

In reducing and preventing pollution in these communities, as Clean up Green Up does, we reduce the overall pollution load for Southern California.   And we give the kids growing up in those areas—Boyle heights, Wilmington and Pacoima—a break so they don’t face a life struggling with asthma and other serious health problems related to pollution.

NRDC is proud to be a supporter and look forward to seeing this issue get through the PLUM committee and onto City Council quickly.

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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