In overburdened neighborhoods across America, residents suffer from air pollution and other assaults on their health, resulting in a myriad of poor health outcomes, including underdeveloped lungs and brain damage in children, and cardiovascular damage, dementia, and premature death of adults.
Much of this takes place with minimal awareness by the general public, and as a result, problems often grow worse over time. One example of a neighborhood so afflicted is the San Francisco neighborhood of Bayview-Hunters Point.
Bayview-Hunters Point has historically been home to slaughterhouses, shipyards, radiological contamination, and air pollution. By the 1960’s it was majority African-American, and the focus of a visit by the novelist and playwright James Baldwin, as documented in the video Take this Hammer. The following decades witnessed the closure of shipyards, de-industrialization, and the loss of jobs, leaving pollution and urban decay behind.
Though revitalization and gentrification has since taken place, Bayview-Hunters point remains one of the poorest areas of San Francisco, with high levels of toxic waste and asthma. Throughout the years, neighborhood residents and community groups have fought for social justice, and more recently environmental justice as well, led by the organization Greenaction for Health & Environment.
As a former Federal and corporate manager, I know from experience that “you can’t manage what you don’t measure”. A solution to that problem was implemented last week, with the establishment of the Bayview Hunters Point Environmental Justice Response Task Force, the expansion of the Identifying Violations Affecting Neighborhoods (IVAN) Network to the area, and the establishment of the Bayview-Hunters Environmental Justice Response Task Force web site.
By allowing residents to report on and document environmental problems, the web site will both increase awareness and provide the data needed to measure the scope and breadth of environmental problems in the neighborhood.
The program launched last Wednesday, with the inaugural meeting of the Bayview Hunters Point Environmental Justice Response Task Force, with about 70 people in attendance.
Check out photos sent by Humberto Lugo of Comite Civico Del Valle, Inc (CCV), the lead agency in the development of IVAN, visit IVAN Online, and check out the news article below.
New Website Launched For Reporting Pollution Concerns In Bayview, San Francisco Appeal