Figure 1: Map of The Newark Bay and Surrounding Area
My project site focuses upon the Newark Bay and its surrounding areas and neighborhoods. The Passaic River which is located slightly north of the Newark Bay is one of those surrounding areas that had an effect on the Newark Bay as well. Heavy commercial and industrial practices typically located on the borders of the Passaic River and Newark Bay had dumped their waste and produced many harmful effects to the surrounding communities. Specifically african american community concerns were looked past because of their economic, education and minority status.The Figure 1 map above was mapped out with the use of an EPA provided website tool called EJSCREEN. When using the tool of mapping the site there is an option to include a buffer, which would provide a particular mileage past the area that you have provided. However, I outlined the exact area in which I would like to cover and I decided to keep a 0 mile buffer on the map to get more specific data. After I mapped out the region, the website provides a data report of the demographic and environmental data from it. With this, they also compare and contrast the data for regional, state and national quantitative data. Some of the environmental indicators include wastewater discharge indicator, hazardous waste proximity, NAIA Cancer Risk, etc. These specific indicators are important to my site, The Newark Bay, because of the heavy industry along its border and also with many ports there, transportation frequently coming in and out of the area. To better understand the correlation between the demographics and environmental indicators, comparing and contrasting this data will help to prove that environmental justice is taking place within this area along the Bay.
Figure 2:Table of Environmental Indicators Data Report
In the data above, it is important to focus upon the high percentiles of superfund proximity, wastewater discharge, hazardous waste proximity, traffic proximity, NATA Diesal PM and RMP proximity. Although all factors above that are included are important, these specifically related closely to the site. To begin, with superfund proximity, Newark Bay is considered a superfund site, so that explains why the percentiles are so high at 98% national, 91% state and 95% regional. The Newark Bay is categorized as a superfund site due mostly to its manufacturing facilities. Specifically one the EPA superfund site titled Diamond Alkali Co which includes a 17 mile tidal stretch of the Passaic River and Newark Bay area where toxic chemicals, hazardous substances and sediment from industrial practices have contaminated the water. As for wastewater discharge and hazardous waste proximity, these percentiles are extremely high around the 90% percentile in all categories, state, region and national. As mentioned previously, this is most likely due to the heavy industry along the bay, where these industrial practices get rid of their waste by dumping it into the Passaic River and Newark Bay. As for traffic proximity and diesel high percentiles, one can conclude that would be due to the ports and constant in and out of transportation nearby the waterway. Finally, proximity to RMP facilities was the highest national percentile at 98% along with superfund sites. RMP stands for risk management plan facilities, meaning places where there are facilities that have potential chemical accident management plans in place. Chemical accidents are most likely due to industrial practices and could have serious health effects to the surrounding populations.
Figure 3:Table of Demographic Indicators Data Report
The following data table from figure 3 indicates the demographics of the map area drawn, bordering the Newark Bay and part of Passaic River that flows into the Newark Bay. At first glance, it is obvious that this area is a minority populated area with mostly a low income population that has an education lower than high school. The minority population percentile is 80% nationally, 76% state and 72% regionally. The low income population percentile is 67% nationally, 80% state and 73% regionally. The less than high school education percentile is 78% nationally, 83% state and 77% regionally. From this data one can determine that these areas that are experiencing this kind of environmental injustice with pollution and environmental hazards are mostly minority, low income populations that do not have a higher education which makes it very unfair and unjust. However, the highest percentile within this demographic data is the Linguistically isolated, meaning people who are not very good at speaking english. This percentile is 90% nationally, 84% state and 81% regionally. With so many in this region not being able to speak english that well, it can be interpreted that it may make it more difficult for people in this region to fight back and have their voices be heard in order to prevent these big industries from coming in and polluting.
Figure 4: Map showing data of Black Population
Figure 5: Map showing data of Black Population Below Poverty Level
Continuing with demographic data, it can be seen in figure 4 and figure 5 that in the specified region around the Newark Bay, it is mostly black population and that black population has many that are below poverty level. Within these maps as well it can be seen that as one moves left, away from Newark Bay and it’s industrial pollution, there is less black population. This shows that in these areas where these high percentiles of hazardous conditions are happening, it is mostly the black and minority population that is being most affected, proving the environmental injustice.
Overall, this data provided by EJSCREEN mapping tool, helped provide great figures to show the correlation between these environmental indicators and the demographic indicators within the area of Newark Bay and it’s surrounding areas. With minority and black populations being most affected, their lack of education and money probably makes them easy for industry to take advantage of. The community is filled with many people whose goals are to live the american dream, and have happy and healthy families. These people’s voices are silenced when it comes to their environmental concerns due to their minority, education or low income status and that within itself is environmental injustice.
Keywords: Race, African American, Class, Pollution, Water