Image Analysis-SL

Air Pollution Takes A Turn For The Worst: Elizabeth, NJ Battles The Front

This picture is of The Port of Elizabeth, New Jersey. It shows the containers and equipment that is used in moving these containers, as well as the containers themselves. In the background, small buildings and mountains show the rest of Elizabeth and other parts of New Jersey. This photograph gives an accurate portrayal of what a normal day in The Port of Elizabeth looks like. There are ships coming into the Port to drop off more cargo and cranes all along the side of the water bigger than the ships and most buildings in Elizabeth. This image gives a semi-decent view of both the neighborhood of The Port in the background, and the actual Port itself. I am choosing this photo of The Port of Elizabeth New Jersey to show how air pollution does not always take a form that we can see, but that does not mean it is not dangerous or it is not getting better, or worse. 

The website that this image comes from is known as “gCaptain”; it is a site that posts articles that details what is happening with what happens near or on the sea. The website posted this photo with an article that explains how the APM company that holds possession over this particular piece of the port plans to expand this Port so that it can receive even larger ships with more containers. This photo was taken in 2017. Since the photo, more ships have been allowed into the Port, hence raising more pollution as well. The photo I am using here has many things going on, but one of the most important things to note is that while everything in this photo already seems large, they still made it larger. This article was produced to inform the public on the expansion that would be taking place in this city. It was not directed to the citizens of Elizabeth, and there was no concern over how this would affect the city or pollution in the harbour. This photo was produced to show the existing area that would be making these changes. It does not mean to show a negative side to the port, but rather an unaffected third party view. This article is not written by a member of the community, and therefore will not feel the repercussions that come from something such as this. 

The first thing that I noticed about this photo was the ship pulling into the harbour. Just one of the ships can be said to produce more pollution than some very small countries. This is one of the most important aspects pertaining to my paper, is how much pollution these container ships give off, and how it affects the neighborhood. Although the Port itself is incredibly large, as seen in the photo above, it is still right next to some homes and businesses just off in the background. The gas that is being emitted in this picture alone could be detrimental to the health of these citizens and the environment that they live in. Not only is there one ship seen in this picture, but there are three. Many more will continue and have been going in and out of this port since 1962 when the Elizabeth Port was opened as the first American container port. Being one of the first, you can see from this photo as well just how large the port has become since then. More trucks, more ships, and larger cranes have constantly been pushed onto this port as a result of the growing industry. While in this photo it does not look harmful, greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide cannot be seen being emitted into the environment as a result of the equipment. 

When looking at the equipment, my eye is now drawn to what seems to be the only green land in the photo. It is almost a stark contrast to the port that is miles upon miles of grey. This piece of land is interesting to me, as it is right next to the Port, but it has not been leveled to become a part of it, nor has it been modified to become a full-fledged park. Having children run around near a large container port is not the best idea. However, planting trees and other plants could help with some of the air pollution that is happening right next to the land. Looking at the photo, it is clear that not all of that land is filled with trees. There are a good amount, but that does not mean there could not be more. Using that space for children would be counterproductive as they would be closer to the pollution, but using it to combat the air pollution with more trees would be helpful. This piece of land helps me argue how there are more ways that the environment is fighting back against air pollution, but how the city itself needs to help support it. It also helps show that even the way we fight the pollution itself can not be seen, but that does not mean it is not helping. 

The reason we need to be worried about this and should be helping the environment, is because of the homes that can be seen to the left background of the photo. Right behind this large stretch of a container yard, there can be small buildings seen in the background. These are homes and small businesses owned by residents of Elizabeth. These people are completely unaware of the toxins that they are being exposed to by just simply living next door to what may be jobs for many of them. The gases that are in the air cannot be seen by these residents, and they therefore cannot fight it. Living in Elizabeth are many immigrant families or low-income families. They are all working hard to keep their families financially stable, and that might mean working for these container yards and purchasing cheap proper nearby. Some families do not have jobs at the Port, but can only afford to live next to it as the rent is cheaper in that area. Considering how close these homes are to this Port, there should be more actions in place to try and separate the pollution from the people, or at least to try and mitigate it. If a natural divider was made of trees for example, it would combat pollution, and help change the community into a nice neighborhood. Instead of waking up and seeing cranes and ships pulling into the harbor, they could wake up to a natural environment that gives off fresh air. 

This image is important to my overall argument as it shows how there is nothing in this picture that points out the pollution in the air, but what is visible are all of the objects that contribute to this pollution, as well as a small solution. While the green land does not look as though it is doing much, those trees are doing their best to push out oxygen into the toxic air. This picture helps me argue that we need to have as much room and trees as we do container space. These spaces can be used to both help continue industry in the area while not completely killing it and the people living there. Many of the citizens that live in this section of the city may not even know how they are being affected by this booming industry and by the time they find out it may already be too late. 

Keyword Tags: Pollution, Race, Air, Toxics, Business, Shipping