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The Environmental Injustices Plaguing Detroit

Despite the decades-long activities of environmental justice advocates in the Motor City, low-income and people of color bear the brunt of pollution in Detroit.
December 18, 2019, 6am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Detroit, Michigan
Ken Lund

Drew Costley writes in-depth on the growing environmental justice concerns in Detroit, where the city's most vulnerable residents are facing growing environmental risks in the air and water.

Environmental problems pervade the city of Detroit, the Blackest city in the United States, but particularly neighborhoods populated predominantly by low-income and people of color, and environmental risk is connected to larger concerns about environmental quality. "Detroit is a microcosm of the national and global crisis on climate change," says Michelle Martinez, coordinator of the Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition, which lobbies for a safer environment for the state’s most vulnerable groups.

Four of the state's top emitters of particulate matter sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxides are located in one zip code in the city, 48217, according to Costley. "A portion of I-75, one of the busiest highways in Michigan, runs along the northern border of the neighborhood. The neighborhood is nine minutes from the traffic-choked Ambassador Bridge, the busiest international border crossing in North America. Plans to open the new Gordie Howe International Bridge next to the Ambassador Bridge in 2020 are expected to increase diesel truck traffic by 125%."

The feature-length article visits numerous specific examples of polluters and the individuals living with the pollution, as well as the advocates fighting for environmental justice. The article is the first in a series published by OneZero titled "Black in the Time of Climate Change."

Full Story:
Published on Monday, December 16, 2019 in OneZero via Medium
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