Support for Providence’s Climate Justice Plan & Opposition to Any Proposed Facilities on Allens Ave Likely To Worsen Pollution & Asthma Rates
Providence, RI -- (ReleaseWire) -- 12/18/2019 --Many neighborhoods in Providence, Rhode Island particularly those in low-income areas, are experiencing some of the highest asthma rates in New England. Most affected: CHILDREN.
On Earth Day 2016, Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza signed an Executive Order that set a goal for Providence to become a carbon-neutral city by 2050. This fall, the city released the Climate Justice Plan for a more equitable, low-carbon, and climate-resilient future.
The Providence Coalition of Neighborhood Associations (representing 19 densely populated neighborhoods from across the city) applauded the Mayor, the City of Providence, as well as the Racial and Environmental Justice Committee (REJC) for their leadership and commitment to protecting frontline communities that are closest to and most impacted by environmental pollutants.
Providence, Rhode Island faces a public health and environmental justice crisis caused by high levels of air pollution. Research has shown that outdoor air pollutants and toxic dust are well-known and undisputed asthma triggers, and children are particularly susceptible. As the Climate Justice Plan indicates, asthma is the most common chronic illness in children in Rhode Island, affecting 25,000 individuals, or almost 11% of children in the state. This is the 9th highest prevalence in the nation. The problem is concentrated in Providence, and particularly in low-income neighborhoods of Providence, which are experiencing some of the highest childhood asthma rates in the state and New England.
Children in low-income families, as well as communities of color in Providence, are particularly likely to have severe asthma. According to the Climate Justice Plan, "individuals who reside in South Providence, Washington Park, Wanskuck, and the West End -- all predominantly low-income communities of color -- represent the majority of asthma-related emergency room visits." 71% of all asthma-related emergency room visits in Rhode Island are for children in Medicaid. Additionally, Black and Hispanic children are disproportionately affected by asthma and are more likely to visit the emergency room or be hospitalized due to asthma. The uneven burden in asthma emergency department visits and inpatient hospital admissions among these groups has been increasing despite medical advancements in the diagnosis and treatment of asthma.
The group has called for urgent action to improve air quality in Providence and to address the inequitable planning and zoning practices that concentrate pollution where people/families of low-income and communities of color reside. Industrial development in low-income communities of color has been a major cause of the high rates of childhood asthma in Providence. Allens Avenue, a hot spot for air pollution in the city, that affects the South Providence and Washington Park neighborhoods, has had new polluting businesses repeatedly seek to open facilities in this industrial area. These group urges that these kinds of proposals would make a bad problem even worse, and the City of Providence should not issue permits to new facilities in this area that would increase the air pollution burden. The city should also urgently seek solutions to reduce air pollution throughout the city, most of which exceeds the state's 75th percentile in terms of air pollution metrics such as diesel particulate pollution and respiratory hazards.
The undersigned members of the Providence Coalition of Neighborhood Associations below, along with the Green Energy Consumers Alliance, Climate Action RI, Clean Ocean Access, Audubon Society of RI, Sunrise Movement, Equity Institute, Southside Community Land Trust, and other stakeholders, took a stand to recognize the moral responsibility to protect the most vulnerable members of Providence's community—the city's children, grandchildren, and neighbors. The undersigned also called on the City to implement the Climate Justice Plan, and on the City and state, to take concrete action to reduce the burden of asthma and to improve the quality of life and health outcomes for all Rhode Islanders, especially those in low-income urban neighborhoods most affected by toxic air pollution. Finally, the group urged elected officials to look at other successful models and pass city and/or state legislation and ordinances to address the cumulative impacts of polluting industry around the Port of Providence, and move proactively towards the goals and strategies laid out in the Climate Justice Plan.
WASHINGTON PARK NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION
ELMWOOD NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION
ELMWOOD/SOUTH PROVIDENCE CRIMEWATCH
SOUTH ELMWOOD NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION
GREEN ENERGY CONSUMERS ALLIANCE
CLIMATE ACTION RI
AUDUBON SOCIETY OF RHODE ISLAND
CLEAN OCEAN ACCESS
SOUTHSIDE COMMUNITY LAND TRUST
COLLEGE HILL NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION
ELMHURST CLEAN AND GREEN
FRIENDS OF INDIA POINT PARK
FOX POINT NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION
JEWELRY DISTRICT ASSOCIATION
MILE OF HISTORY (BENEFIT STREET) ASSOCIATION
OBSERVATORY NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION
OLNEYVILLE NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION
RESERVOIR TRIANGLE NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION
SUMMIT NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION
WAYLAND SQUARE NEIGHBORHOOD
WEST BROADWAY NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION
City Councilor Helen Anthony (Ward 2)
City Councilor Nirva LaFortune (Ward 3)
City Councilor Carmen Castillo (Ward 9)
City Councilor Pedro Espinal (Ward 10)
City Councilor Kat Kerwin (Ward 12)
State Representative Edith H. Ajello (District 1)
State Representative Ana B. Quezada (District 2)
State Senator Samuel Bell (District 5)
State Representative Joseph Almeida (District 12)