This year’s theme for World Environment Day is #BeatAirPollution. Air pollution is a major environmental and social justice facing every community. While polluted air can affect everyone, low-income communities are among the most impacted. There are countless studies that demonstrate the disproportionate impacts among income communities and their exposure to air pollution.
Why Are Low-Income Populations Impacted The Most
There are many reasons why low-income populations are more impacted by air pollution. Two of the most prominent reasons include:
Pollution sources are more likely to be located closer to low-income communities – This could be due to housing market prices, the cost of land, or a lack of resources to push back and organize against polluting companies.
Low-income communities are predisposed to health risks – Often times low-income communities have less access to medical facilities and treatment, fresh food, and jobs in healthy environments.
What Are The Public Health Impacts of Air Pollution
The two main types of air pollution in the United States include ozone and particulate matter pollution. Ground level ozone is formed when pollutants from cars, power plants, or industrial facilities react with oxygen. The resulting pollutant is harmful to human health and can cause premature death, breathing problems, and cardiovascular disease. Particulate matter pollution is tiny particles such as dust, dirt, soot, or smoke in the air. These particles can get into the lungs and bloodstream causing health risks such as increased asthma attacks, risk of cardiovascular disease, and premature death.ss to medical facilities and treatment, fresh food, and jobs in healthy environments.
States Are Taking Action
States are taking action to ensure everyone has access to clean air. These states have legislation working to improve communities’ air quality in a way that is equitable and just for all.