Scientific Data Analysis-SL

Water Pollution: The Journey One City Took To Make A Change

Figure 1: Highlighted Map of The Port of Elizabeth and the ElizabethPort Neighborhood

This is a photo of the site that I have chosen, the Elizabeth Port and the Elizabeth Port Neighborhood in New Jersey. The highlighted area is the specific area I have chosen and mapped out on a website by the EPA. This website is called ‘EJSCREEN’ and anyone with a computer can use it. By picking a certain area, you can receive both environmental and demographic data from it. The following information is based on this site and compares and contrasts this region to the state and country statistics on average. Things that will be compared and contrasted are the environmental effects from things such as diesel and lead, and the demographic of the regional population affected by these things. This particular location is affected by these things because of the Port’s industry with ships and trucks coming and going through it. With the help of the EPA you are informed of just how much pollution is getting into the environment; some of the pollution not even seen. 

Figures 2 & 3: Tables Of Environmental and Demographic Reports

When using the site there is an option of choosing a buffer that will give you a certain mileage past a point that you have chosen. I decided to keep a 0 mile buffer and instead I outlined the exact area of Elizabeth that I wanted to cover. In the data provided, I am going to be covering waste water discharge indicators, traffic proximity, NATA Diesel PM, lead paint indicators, water and air pollution, as well as the cancer risk. These are all the environmental indexes that will be compared and contrasted. To begin, the highest pollution comes from waste water, traffic proximity, and Diesel. Each of these are above the 50% population percentile and it is no surprise as the Port is home to many ship terminals and large trucks. These things all emit diesel into the air and cause increases in air pollution and cancer risks. Although you cannot see air pollution, you can see the numbers that are given by the EPA that show just how much there is. The first large attributor to air pollution is the waste water discharge indicator. It scores in the 97th percentile for the region which falls 2%ile lower than the state average but equal to the national average. For traffic proximity, we are at the 93rd percentile putting us at 3%ile lower than the state and country average. These two percentiles are not much different from the state and national averages meaning that the city of Elizabeth is keeping in line with the regulations the EPA says is where most places should be. The NATA Diesel PM is at the 92nd percentile which is 6% lower than the state and country average. This is not a great percentile as it shows that we have more diesel emissions than surrounding areas in the state and country as well. The cancer risk is at the 90th percentile creating a 4%ile difference from the state and 1%ile from the country. While people in Elizabeth can get cancer from air pollution, it is not as large of a difference between getting it in another city. Finally, Lead paint indicators are within the 86th percentile making us 5%ile lower than the state of NJ and 11%ile lower than the country. This means that this region has more lead paint than other areas around it. This data shows that we are keeping up with some of the regulations put in place by the EPA to help combat pollution, but we are not yet at the exact numbers for the country. In some cases we are not off by 1 or 2%iles, but rather 5 or more in some cases. This Port therefore is slowly getting better in regards to air pollution, but it is not there yet. A big concern is how these percentiles affect the population, but it is especially important to note which demographic is affected by this the most. 

Figure 3: Demographic ACS Summary Report

This particular neighborhood of Elizabeth is mainly made of an 86% minority population. The minority population falls within the 80%ile of the population affected by pollution. These people are also part of the percentiles that include low income population and linguistically isolated population. The data revealed 88%ile for low income and 90%ile for linguistically isolated. This data when compared to the state shows that this particular region is experiencing a slightly higher exposure to pollution. It also shows that the majority of people in this particular area belong to people that may not understand reports on pollution surrounding their neighborhoods, or what can be done to help combat it, and many of them may not be informed on these particular issues that are surrounding them. The percentile of those with less than a high school education is 91%ile. Therefore, this minority group is important to help by changing things like diesel to electric. Then there is the issue of low income housing being located in this area as it is next to large industries and the port. Large trucks are seen being driven through these neighborhoods often, and therefore the pollution is distributed around these particular people. This makes the property value in the region lower allowing for only those that can barely afford better housing choose this area. It can create a disproportionate advantage to those that have enough money to choose an area further away from the industries and pollution. 

Therefore, Elizabeth is not the worst affected neighborhood by pollution, but that does not mean it is perfect. It still ranks higher than most cities in the state and nation. We can deduce from the statistics presented that Elizabeth has combated air pollution over the past few years and now is starting to present its changes in a positive direction. We can see that the region’s averages are now starting to match those of the state and national levels – which are under close attention by the EPA.The steps taken to keep these percentiles are things such as replacing diesel trucks with electric ones, changing our sources of energy to renewable energy, and planting trees in Elizabeth to produce more oxygen, thus cleaning the air. As the port continues to expand, it would be ideal for Elizabeth to continue finding ways to combat this increase in pollution. 

Keyword Tags:

Pollution, Race, Air, Toxics, Business, Shipping, Relief