EPA Supports Environmental Justice Initiative in Camden, N.J.

Jan. 19, 2010
Heart of Camden to collect and analyze environmental and health data and match it up with geographic information related to neighborhoods to create online tool

Highlighting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) commitment to ensuring that everyone enjoys the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards, the people of Camden, N.J., will be receiving an environmental information tool put together by the Heart of Camden, a local community-based organization, to help them better understand environmental conditions in their community. Thanks to an environmental justice grant from EPA, Heart of Camden will collect and analyze environmental and health data and match it up with geographic information related to the neighborhoods of Waterfront South and South-Central Camden to create an online tool. The software will be designed to build the community’s awareness and knowledge of exposure to a variety of contaminated sites and pollution sources found in the area. EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck was joined at the announcement by the Mayor of Camden, Dana L. Redd, and Heart of Camden’s executive director, Helene Pierson.

“This project will go a long way toward helping the people of Camden identify specific environmental and health risks within South-Central Camden so that its residents can more fully participate in decisions that impact their health and the local environment,” Enck said. “We are here to make sure that all communities are equally protected from environmental hazards. Our partnerships with Heart of Camden and the City of Camden will help inform the local community with the facts needed to combat environmental health hazards where people live and work.”

Using EPA funding, the Heart of Camden is in the process of developing a comprehensive environmental health information tool that covers emissions data, contaminated soil sites and the status of pending air pollution mitigation and site remediation effort data. It will also provide a description of known and potential health effects related to the identified pollutants. In addition, the group will analyze and compare to other urban and suburban communities in New Jersey the rates at which people in the Waterfront and South-Central Camden communities visit the hospital, particularly for respiratory and cardiovascular disease.

Heart of Camden is aiming to revitalize the Waterfront South neighborhood through affordable housing, family and youth services and economic development. Its environmental efforts include addressing environmental issues in the area such as air pollution and the contamination of water and soil.

Source: U.S. EPA

Image by Burnham RNG, courtesy twentytwo & brand.