Calling for justice and no more toxic pollution, people from across L.A. rallied outside the Exide Technologies facility in Vernon, CA today to support "healthy ‘hoods, not toxic hotspots" in the communities where they live, work, learn, and play.
Like too many other communities of color, the communities surrounding the Exide lead-acid battery recycling facility face multiple and cumulative burdens from nearby industries. There is the Exide facility, about which my colleagues and I have blogged before, with its recent notices of violation for excess lead emissions. Also nearby, as was readily apparent during the rally, is the Baker Commodities rendering plant. So are freeways, railroads, metal recycling facilities, plating shops, a used oil recycling facility, a slaughterhouse, and a paint manufacturer and recycler. All right along the L.A. River.
But it could be different. In the face of these burdens, residents and community and environmental groups are working to instead create clean, green, and healthy neighborhoods.
This work includes both targeted efforts to clean up existing toxic facilities, as well as efforts to proactively develop plans and policies that promote this greener community vision. For example, the City of Los Angeles is working with stakeholders to develop a Clean Up Green Up policy to address these concerns. The three pilot areas for this policy – Boyle Heights (which is near Exide), Pacoima, and Wilmington – are some of the most overburdened in the state.
As voiced in the rally today, people want healthy communities. By finding creative ways of reducing and preventing pollution prevention while promoting sustainable business practices and community revitalization, this work (including policies like Clean Up Green Up) can create and serve as a model for healthy neighorhoods in all of Los Angeles and beyond.