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In New Jersey, communities of color and low-income neighborhoods face higher levels of pollution from multiple sources including toxic waste sites, industrial plants, and heavy city and port traffic. The "cumulative impacts" of these pollutants impact their physical and economic health, quality of life, ability to thrive, learn and work:
- In the City of Newark, asthma is the city's biggest crime. Statistically speaking, more people die of asthma than homicides.
- School age children in Newark have double the state and national average rate (25%) for asthma resulting in most missed school daysand unaffordable medical bills.
- Newark residents face the nation's 2nd greatest cancer risk due to diesel emissions.
- The city is home to the largest trash incinerator in the Northeast, which pollutes the air and costs the city over $9 million in disposal costs.
- The city is also the largest port on the East Coast, growing 5-10% per year in container volume, with over 10,000 trucks making an estimated 20,000 trips daily. Learn about our Coalition for Healthy Ports campaign here.
The costs are borne more by the state and families than the polluters in the form of lost work days, school absenteeism, higher health care/charity care costs, site cleanups and more. The state has an important role to play in addressing these injustices.
New Jersey's Environmental Justice & Cumulative Impacts Law
Clean Water Action played a pivotal role in helping get New Jersey's Environmental Justice & Cumulative Impacts bill signed into law. This landmark policy is aimed at addressing the disproportionate burden of environmental pollution and degradation borne by communities of color and low-income communities. On April 17th, the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) finalized and published the corresponding regulations that finally enable the law to be fully enforceable. Learn more about this law here.