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The Unequal Burden of Air Pollution

The Unequal Burden of Air Pollution
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From the Environmental Defense Fund

500 trucks pass through one Newark intersection in an hour. Kids are paying the price.

Air pollution has decreased in the U.S. over the past decade — but not everyone is breathing easier. 

People of color, regardless of income, are exposed to higher levels of air pollution than the U.S. population as a whole. And children living in neighborhoods where thousands of trucks rumble through on a daily basis face twice the risk of developing asthma from pollution exposure compared to kids in a different part of town. 

Kim Gaddy, a fourth generation Newark resident, is painfully familiar with asthma. She recalls rushing her one-year-old daughter to the hospital, coughing and gasping for air. Gaddy, then working in city politics with an ambition to become Newark’s first female mayor, already had one asthmatic child.

“I thought, I have got to do something,” says Gaddy. “No parent should have to see their child gasping for air like that. You’re helpless.” 

Since that day more than twenty years ago, Gaddy has been fighting for environmental justice in Newark. In 2015, she founded South Ward Environmental Alliance, a group representing four neighborhoods near Newark airport and the Port of Newark, two of the busiest transportation centers in the country

Copyright © 2022 Environmental Defense Fund. Used by permission. The original material is available at https://www.edf.org/article/500-trucks-pass-through-one-newark-intersection-hour-kids-are-paying-price

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