Clean Up Green Up is a cutting-edge policy that addresses both public health and economic well-being in Los Angeles communities that have long struggled to go green.
Clean Up Green Up grew out of grassroots efforts in three LA toxic hotspot neighborhoods, where residents live with intense concentrations of local pollution. Steady exposure endangers long-term community health and quality of life.
Clean Up Green Up aims to:
- Reduce pollution in toxic hotspot neighborhoods
- Prevent additional pollution
- Revitalize Clean Up Green Up neighborhoods by supporting economic development and improved 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.
The Clean Up Green Up policy now under consideration at LA City Hall would set up Green Zones in three pilot areas in the City of Los Angeles: Boyle Heights, near downtown; Pacoima, in the East San Fernando Valley and Wilmington, in the harbor area. Grassroots groups from the these three vulnerable communities joined together in 2009 with the Liberty Hill Foundation and research partners to create the LA Collaborative for Environmental Health and Justice.
Council Member Jose Huizar introduced a motion at City Council in January 2011 for the City to take steps to embrace the Clean Up Green Up concept and propose strategies for the three communities.
The Clean Up Green Up plan proposes ways to change outdated policies that allow sources of pollution to locate or expand adjacent to homes, schools, parks, senior and child care centers—places where susceptible people live or gather.
The Green Zones would focus available resources to support the local economy and businesses in the Clean Up Green Up pilot areas.
When it’s finalized as City of Los Angeles policy, Clean Up Green Up will protect 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 has enthusiastic support in LA City Hall and from health and environmental advocate organizations such as the American Lung Association in California, Heal the Bay and the Sierra Club. The measure is moving through the city planning process and is headed for approval by 2015.
The proposed policy helps local business. It creates a community liaison office to connect entrepreneurs with city, state and federal resources—business planning support, low interest loans, help navigating tax issues—and make it simpler to comply with existing regulations. Clean Up Green Up would streamline city permitting processes (saving time and hassles to free up business people to focus on their day-to-day operations).
There will be many opportunities for public review before Clean Up Green Up goes to City Council—to share and discuss the best ways to improve local environmental and economic health.