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Public Health Action Plan for Improving Air Quality and Health in Detroit Released by Research Partnership between University of Michigan and Detroit Community-Based Organizations

i Apr 18th No Comments by

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                    April 18, 2017


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Public Health Action Plan for Improving Air Quality and Health in Detroit Released by Research Partnership between University of Michigan and Detroit Community-Based Organizations

DETROIT- A Public Health Action Plan released April 18th introduces recommendations for reducing air pollution in Detroit. The plan was created by a community-academic research partnership, Community Action to Promote Healthy Environments (CAPHE), which includes the University of Michigan School of Public Health, Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation, Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice and Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision.

People living and working in Detroit are exposed to elevated levels of outdoor air pollutants. Each year, exposure to these pollutants causes approximately 690 deaths, 1,800 hospitalizations and emergency department visits, and hundreds of thousands of lost workdays and school absences, at an estimated cost of $6.9 billion (in 2010 dollars) in Detroit and surrounding communities. “The recommendations in the CAPHE plan have the potential to promote cleaner air and better health in our community, and we look forward to working with our community members and leaders to implement them,” said Angela G. Reyes, Executive Director and founder of the Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation in southwest Detroit.”

Exposure to air pollutants can lead to a variety of problems, including asthma, cardiovascular and respiratory conditions, adverse birth outcomes and missed days of work or school. “Our goal with this initiative is to work hand-in-hand with Detroit residents, city planners, community and business leaders, public health officials and other decision-makers to develop and implement realistic and proven strategies that will improve the air quality in Detroit and the health of its residents for years to come,” said Stuart Batterman, Professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

The plan provides scientifically grounded recommendations for actions that can be taken to reduce air pollution in the city, and it suggests multiple strategies for implementing those recommendations, including examples from other communities who have taken similar actions.   The comprehensive plan includes 10 strategies and 25 recommendations that reduce emissions and exposures to pollutants such as particulate matter or PM2.5, ozone, sulfur dioxide, and diesel exhaust.

“Raising awareness about strategies that can be used to improve air quality among decision-makers in Detroit, and working with them to implement those strategies, will be critical to improving health in Detroit,” said Evan Markarian, Program Manager for Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision. “Those improvements will result in children missing fewer school days due to asthma and reduced levels of lost work time among adults. As the region’s first public health action plan for air quality, it will not only help improve the health of Detroiters but will strengthen Detroit’s economy.”

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President Trump’s assault on clean air protections hits low-income communities hardest

i Apr 5th No Comments by

On Tuesday, President Trump signed an executive order that rolls back the Clean Power Plan and other lifesaving clean air protections. This latest attack on clean air and water will hit low-income people in our cities the hardest, making the work Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice does even more crucial.

The Clean Power Plan is a historic policy to reduce dangerous pollution and fight back against climate change. The policy was created on the basis that all Americans, regardless of race, income or class should have clean air to breathe. The unfortunate truth is that the dangerous impacts of climate change impact every American – but in places like Detroit, home to some of America’s most-polluted ZIP codes, the effects are especially devastating.

According to the NAACP, 68 percent of African Americans in the United States live within 30 miles of a coal-fired power plant. Low-income communities of color are disproportionately affected by the consequences of exposure to air pollution, with higher risks of asthma, other respiratory diseases and premature death. By reducing dangerous pollution from coal-fired plants, the Clean Power Plan protects families’ health, creates new opportunity and investment, and will save ratepayers money in the long term.

States and local communities will have to lead the way in the fight against climate change. The Detroit Climate Action Collaborative, an initiative of DWEJ, is developing the City of Detroit’s first Climate Action Plan, which will lay out policy goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare Detroit for the effects of climate change.

When describing the Clean Power Plan Trump said, “Perhaps no single regulation threatens our miners, energy workers and companies more than this crushing attack on American industry.” The fact is clean energy policies and economic prosperity go hand-in-hand. Contrary to Trump’s dated rhetoric, we can continue creating clean energy jobs without compromising the health of the American people, which would indeed make America greater.

Tuesday’s executive order clearly shows Trump believes big polluter profits are more important than the health and quality of life of the American people.

Kimberly Hill Knott is the director of policy for Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice