The Clean Up Green Up campaign began in 2008 and succeeded in winning the first environmental justice land use policy for a large urban area. Initiated with a report, Hidden Hazards, that documented the overconcentration of industrial pollution in environmental justice neighborhoods, the Clean Up Green Up ordinance was signed into law by Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti in 2016.
It established “green zones” in three toxic hotspot communities—Boyle Heights, near downtown; Pacoima-Sun Valley, in the East San Fernando Valley and Wilmington, in the harbor area—with strengthened land use standards and a Citywide Office to support environmental compliance by local industries in communities that have long struggled to go green.
The campaign grew out of grassroots efforts within these three vulnerable communities that formed the LA Collaborative for Environmental Health and Justice.
Clean Up Green Up:
- Reduces pollution in toxic hotspot neighborhoods
- Prevents additional pollution
- Revitalizes Clean Up Green Up neighborhoods by supporting economic development and improving public spaces
People who live in toxic hotspot neighborhoods endure elevated risk for asthma, cancer, heart disease and other chronic afflictions–all related to living with high levels of local industrial emissions. Current LA land use patterns allow pollution sources in their very backyards, placing families just over the fence from diesel truck depots, warehouses, rail yards and refineries.
But LA is finding a way forward.
Clean Up Green Up changes outdated policies that allow sources of pollution to locate or expand adjacent to homes, schools, parks, senior and childcare centers—places where susceptible people live or gather.
The Green Zones focus available resources to support the local economy and businesses in the Clean Up Green Up pilot areas and protects local health, especially for those residents most sensitive to the effects of concentrated pollution sources —children, the elderly, and the chronically ill.
Clean up Green Up helps local businesses through the creation of an ombudsperson’s office that connects entrepreneurs with city, state and federal resources—business planning support, low interest loans, navigating tax issues—and simplifying compliance with existing regulations. Clean Up Green Up streamlines city permitting processes (saving time and hassles to free up business people to focus on their day-to-day operations).
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