For my data analysis I am going to be continuing my research on Newark Riverfront Park and the Passaic River that flows alongside it. The environmental issue that I have been focusing on is the contamination throughout the river that affects fishing at and around Newark Riverfront Park. The troubles that the Passaic River cause have made it almost impossible to fish without catching a piece of trash or some slimy radioactive fish that could be harmful to touch, let alone take home and eat. I decided to use a half-mile buffer around my topic site because the area of Newark inside of this buffer gave very useful information moving forward in my research. The highlighted area helps explain why the people of Newark struggle at the hands of the Passaic River, and why the Passaic River is such an environmental tragedy. Newark has struggled environmentally, and the blame is placed on the citizen’s of Newark, and an argument that I have become more interested in is trying to prove that the downfall of the Passaic River isn’t at the hands of Newark and it’s citizens.
Environmental Data Analysis:
While analyzing the environmental data, it was quite obvious which factors were most influential on my selected buffer zone. The three most prominent indicators are Superfund Proximity, Hazardous Waste Proximity, and Wastewater Discharge. Most times, when talking about environmental problems in Newark, it’s automatically assumed that lead is what’s causing the problems. In this specific case, lead in the pipes is not the main problem. My specific area ranks in the 99th percentile nationally in Superfund Proximity, meaning that superfund sites have had a direct influence on both the Passaic River and urban area within the parameters of my buffer. This data supports my argument because the common citizen of Newark has no affect on the Superfund sites that are included in this data. The selected area also ranks in the 96th percentile nationally and in the 93rd percentile statewide in Hazardous Waste Proximity. This plays hand in hand with the Superfund Proximity data because all of the waste that came from the superfund sites is most likely going to be hazardous. This is just another environmental problem that the City of Newark and it’s people face on a day-to-day basis. The third piece of evidence that I analyzed is Wastewater in which the region ranks in the 86th percentile nationally and the 88th percentile statewide The significance of the buffer-zone really comes into play here because when you look, you can see that the Passaic River runs alongside McCarter Highway, which is probably the most busy road in Newark. Previous research has shown that a lot of the waste that hits the River comes from this exact highway, which is a huge disservice to Newark and the environment in general.
Demographic Data Analysis:
The demographic data that I gathered plays a huge role in my project as a whole. Until this point, finding out how this environmental problem affected the citizens of Newark had been extremely challenging, but this data shined some light on just how much this isn’t their fault. One of the main problems surrounding this whole project is how much people in Newark don’t fully know about this problem. A lot of people in my buffer zone speak Spanish or Portuguese as their primary language. Linguistic Isolation has my region ranked in the 97th percentile nationally, and it’s challenging for those people to read English when they don’t know what any of it means. To go along with being linguistically isolated, my region ranks in the 90th percentile among people with an education less than high school. These groups of people are given no guidance on how to stay away from the river, or how to at least fish safely, so as anyone would, they go about their daily lives without having nearly enough information on just how serious this contamination is.
Combining Demographic and Environmental Data:
I think my data throughout both of these subject go hand in hand. I say this because most of the environmental problems are caused by outside parties rather than the people who live in the city. From a demographic perspective, the 55,000+ citizens inside of my buffer zone have little to no resources when trying to learn about these environmental issues, and it’s not their fault at all. My data popped off the screen at me, leading me to believe that the groups of people living in this specific part of Newark are all suffering from the same environmental problems. Sure, you could say that the people of Newark should learn to speak English and learn just like everyone else, but they don’t find that necessary when you live around a bunch of people just like you, they shouldn’t have to fit some specific mold because they’re different than the average American. I don’t see any reason as to why you can’t correlate these two groups of data and draw inferences about the problems going on in Newark along Riverfront Park and the Passaic River.
Unlike most environmental problems, this one doesn’t have any kind of movement behind it or anything like that. The citizens of Newark that fit inside of my buffer zone suffer because of the negligence they are shown by their own City and State. These people are being punished for being different than the people that run our councils/parties. How can something be someone’s fault when they don’t even know what’s going on? The environmental side of this project really gets my blood boiling because it shows true ignorance and irresponsibility. When given as much power as Superfund sites have, it’s paramount that everything is done with the utmost attention, and this data shows that there is an extreme lack of attention shown by the sites that sat/sit along the river, and like I’ve said previously, that’s not fair to the citizens of Newark and the environment in general. The amount of waste that is seen throughout the river on a day to day basis is extremely disheartening to see. Newark deserves to live a clean happy life where they shouldn’t have to be weary about fishing in the Passaic River, and Newark’s citizens definitely shouldn’t have to suffer simply because they have no idea of the issues at hand.
Superfund Site, Data, Newark, Passaic River, Newark Riverfront Park