Poll: White Americans Unaware of Pollution Impacts in Disadvantaged Areas
Thursday, November 19, 2020
AUSTIN, Texas -- When high pollution levels occur in a neighborhood, residents are likely to be Black or Latino families, and a new survey finds many white Americans are unaware of the disparity.
Elise Nelson Leary, manager of campaigns and partnerships for the Environmental Defense Fund said the national poll conducted for the group found fewer than four in 10 white adults know minority neighborhoods often aren't like their own.
She noted pollution and contaminants are far more likely to be detected in Black, Latino and low-income neighborhoods.
"Low-income communities and communities of color have endured disproportionate harm from climate change," Nelson Leary contended.
She added 60% of U.S. respondents to the poll who identified as Black said they were very concerned about air-pollution exposure in their community versus 32% of white adult respondents.
Juan Parras, executive director for Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services said unless you live in a neighborhood with high levels of pollution, you're unlikely to know the difference.
He added people often lack understanding even if they recognize the privileges afforded by culture and circumstances.
"And then some that do, they don't blame it on the environment," Parras observed. "They blame it on the people themselves, thinking, 'Well, why don't they move out?' 'Why don't they move out to a better community?' It's all a matter, I think, of education and understanding."
Nelson Leary said the poll found 51% of Black respondents and 48% of Latino respondents believe environmental injustice is a major problem in the U.S., while only 33% of white adult respondents agree.
"We wanted to use this poll to get a pulse of how people were seeing these issues," Nelson Leary explained. "And so this poll really again was to collect that data and to really understand how we can better talk about environmental justice."
The survey also shows concern about climate change and its impact on the economy is more prevalent among Black and Latino respondents than white respondents.
Disclosure: Environmental Defense Action Fund contributes to our fund for reporting on Energy Policy, Environment, Environmental Justice, and Health Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
get more stories like this via email
RICHMOND, Va. - Virginia's General Assembly Special Session begins today to budget more than $4 billion in federal COVID relief funds, and advocates …
ROSLINDALE, Mass. - A new report finds Massachusetts residents would rather repair electronic devices than send them to landfills, but manufacturers …
DENVER-During the COVID health emergency, the federal government made school meals available for free to all students, regardless of their financial …
HELENA, Mont. - COVID-19 is underscoring the importance of ensuring that people's estates are in order, but estate planning can be be tricky for …
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Pandemic fallout still has U.S. states clawing their way back to normalcy, and New Mexico believes its decision to provide more …
CONCORD, N.H. - New polling finds many New Hampshire voters think it's important that wealthy individuals and corporations pay what's described as …
AMARILLO, Texas - The American Farm Bureau Federation hosts more than 100 college level chapters across 35 states, but this is the first time its …
ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. - As activists mark more than 100 days of protest since the April 21 death of Andrew Brown Junior - killed outside his Elizabeth …