Atmospheric Injustice

Every part of my blogging experience thus far has focused on some aspect of money within New Jersey. Due to inspiration from some of my friends, I’ve decided to look into some environmental reports for the State. The information provided in this post was created by State and Federal government entities, not me. I have simply read the report and provided my analysis of it here. After having read the 2012 Air Toxics Summary prepared by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, I must admit I find myself perplexed as to why this information is not a publicized priority in New Jersey.

Out of the 22 air toxics of concern in New Jersey, meaning they are above the health benchmark set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, 10 of them are in their highest concentrations within the most aid-reliant and impoverished places in the state, the same places of which I have previously studied. These 10 toxics concentrations generally look like the following:

Benzene05

We see generally higher concentrations of toxics over Camden City, and then the northern Amoebaville area. Both of these areas were the places of early American Industry, and some toxics are still decomposing due to a very long half life.

Benzene is listed to come from mobile sources, since it is a component of gasoline and oil, which explains the widespread area of 5-10 times above the health benchmark. The following image is of the concentration of diesel particulate matter:

DieselTotalRisk05

It is important to note that this concentration is more wide spread throughout New Jersey, with a large portion of the state being 100-1000 times above the health benchmark.

Based upon the Concentration of Toxics report, we are able to see that families of low income do not just struggle with economic issues because of their place of living, but they are also directly exposed to greater health risks because of the placement of affordable housing units. Relating the issue back to the insensitivities of money, an unhealthy environment for low income families is almost a “double cost” because of a high rate of uninsured citizens, leaving issues such as asthma, COPD, and several cancers, to be paid for via the government when ill citizens go to the emergency room. I would think that if a person does not involve themselves in trying to solve the issues of poverty because of a lack of sympathy, hopefully now, as immoral as it is, such a person is starting to see that it is ultimately in their economic best interest to start supporting efforts to bring people out of poverty.

On a side note, the Benzene, Diesel particulate matter, 1,3 Butadiene, arsenic, cadmium, cobalt, ethylbenzene, MTBE, nickel, and PAH/POM are all listed air toxins of concerns in New Jersey because they are higher than the USEPA’s health benchmark. All of these toxics come from the burning of fossil fuels mainly described as “on road” sources, but also including industrious sources. It appears as though New Jersey could greatly improve it’s citizens’ health as well as the environment by creating stronger initiatives for using less oil and gasoline.

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