Mapping for Environmental Justice recently published its Colorado map. The mapping effort identified several environmental justice hotspots, including North Denver, Pueblo, and Greeley. The hotspots have high levels of pollution burden and are disproportionately communities of color or low-income.
MEJ’s Colorado map shows that communities of color breathe nearly twice as much diesel pollution and are 1.5 times more likely to live near a Superfund site than white communities. The disparity holds across an array of environmental hazards: from wastewater releases to air toxics, Coloradans of color are consistently exposed to more pollution.
“These maps show the same injustices I saw my students experiencing every day. Many of them had chronic asthma, and many of them lived in areas where there is a high level of air pollution.”– Adam Buchholz, MEJ Executive Director
Adam Buchholz, MEJ’s executive director, founded MEJ after seeing the effects of pollution firsthand while working as a teacher in Denver Public Schools. “These maps show the same injustices I saw my students experiencing every day. Many of them had chronic asthma, and many of them lived in areas where there is a high level of air pollution. Our most vulnerable communities are exposed to the worst society has to offer, be it toxic waste dumps, air pollution, traffic, or unhealthy water.” For Buchholz, environmental justice mapping is a starting point to remediate past and prevent future harm to historically burdened communities. “Using maps like this to target clean energy and anti-pollution programs is a first step toward fixing the problem,” he said.
Read the full press release here.