The Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation hosted the Southwest District Community Environmental (SDCE) meeting on January 31, 2013 between 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Southwest Detroit is home to the only oil refinery in the State of Michigan, has over 300 air permits in three zip codes, home for the most outdated water treatment plant, and slated to be home of the two international bridge crossings in Detroit. Noise and air quality are concerns for the residents. The SDCE seeks to inform their new Council District and city leaders about health impacts from environmental conditions and discuss solutions. State Representative Rashida Tlaib spoke on the many accomplishments in southwest Detroit such as the residential group Bridge Watch Detroit initiating the “We Have the Right to Breathe” campaign. She recognizes that the voice of residents is structured in a positive way.
Simone Sagovac of Southwest Detroit Environment Vision organized environmental summits while Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice (DWEJ) pursued funding to work on an agenda for the environment of Detroit. Sandra Yu of DWEJ presented material to the collaborative about lead poisoning. She noted that the reduction of lead poisoning played a significant impact on extending the life span in the 20th century. Low income individuals are more at risks from environmental factors. If lead poisoning decreases it would affect high school dropout rates, juvenile delinquencies, lower aggression, and increase IQ.
According to Dr. Stuart Batterman, University of Michigan School of Public Health, blood pressure increases with more pollutants. Greening of Detroit seeks to turn Brownfield into green fields through the planting of trees that can reduce pollutants in the ground and reduce flooding. Good stewardship of the environment can reduce pollutants. Dr. Hay states, “When air pollution goes up it impacts pre-natal, pulmonary function, cardiovascular morbidity, and cognitive outcomes”.
After the presentation of material, small discussion groups were formed to tackle the questions: 1) What are your biggest environmental concerns and 2) What actions are needed to address issue? Through collaboration with non-profit entities, residents and university professors a report on priorities and actions was formulated.
GreeningDetroit.com looks forward to assisting SDCE achieve its goals and thanks them for the invitation to participate.
Author: Michelle Abd’Elaziz, Reporter on Urban Planning, representing GreeningDetroit.com