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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Clean Up, Green Up in Los Angeles

Environmentalists in Los Angeles have a new approach to cleaning up some of the most polluted neighborhoods. The new plan calls for special zoning that would limit pollution and prioritize funding for small industries to purchase cleaner equipment.  The pilot project aligns environmental interests with those of local businesses.

Specifically, the proposal is to make three L.A. neighborhoods Clean Up Green Up zones. The communities chosen have high rates of pollution and health effects caused by their location and the number of small and large businesses in the area. Businesses within these zones would need to limit any new noise, pollution or bright lights if they want to expand. But the proposal isn’t only about limits. It also channels money to businesses so they can make improvements.

Researchers at UC Berkeley, the University of Southern California and Occidental College have created first of a kind maps that include all sources of air pollution, plus social information – where people might be more vulnerable, where there’s less access to health care – even where babies are being born early or with low birth weight.The researchers then shared these maps with community members so they could note unmapped facilities they think are contributing to emissions.

Clean Up Green Up is a locally-initiated effort to make LA communities – and the local business climate – healthier through the establishment of Green Zones in Boyle Heights, Pacoima and Wilmington. For the local community and neighborhoods, it will prevent and reduce pollution, helping to protect the health of all residents, especially sensitive populations. For businesses, the program will streamline the permitting process, saving time and hassles, and provide better access to various business support programs.  (Living On Earth, 5/18/2012, Clean Up Green Up)

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