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Educate yourselves about your local Indy environment March 29, 2010

Posted by Dr. O in Environment/Conservation, Health, Science & Culture, Science Education.
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Earth Day is coming up.  April 22nd to be exact. While we will likely focus most of our attention on global climate change, fossil fuel use, and habitat destruction, I do think it is paramount to educate one’s self about the environmental pitfalls within your local community.  The USA is a known culprit of spewing a major portion of the world’s air pollution.  The Midwest produces the majority of the nation’s pollution.  Indiana produces the most pollution in the Midwest.

While we should rightly so be worried about what this air pollution is doing…or undoing…for the Earth’s climatic balance…we should also be very worried about what this air pollution is doing to our local Indy communities.  And by local, I mean neighborhood by neighborhood.  Indianapolis is a heavily industrialized city with very little environmental oversight.  This lack of oversight has led to markedly increased disease among Indy residents.  A recent article in the Indy Star highlights some of the most disturbing facts, focusing on low-income neighborhoods in the city’s Southwest side.

Here are a few jaw-dropping statistics:

• In one of those [neighborhood] tracts, 15 of 100 deaths were attributed to lung cancer — 95 percent higher than the county rate.

• Residents of that tract were hospitalized for respiratory problems at rates more than three times the county average in 1998 and 1999.

State and local environmental and health officials have done almost nothing to investigate documented risks from air pollution or the health problems they may cause.

Here is a link to the article. So while you celebrate Earth Day and commit to making changes in order to ameliorate changes made to our fragile global ecosystem…make sure you start at home.  Educate yourself and then find out how you can take action.

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