Even With Pandemic Shutdowns, Air Pollution Remains High in Minority Neighborhoods

Even With Pandemic Shutdowns, Air Pollution Remains High in Minority Neighborhoods

Led by researchers at George Washington University, the study analyzed pollution levels faced by various demographics in 15 cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Detroit throughout 2020 and 2021. What they found was that although pollution levels decreased overall throughout urban areas during the pandemic’s peak, nitrogen dioxide levels remained elevated in primarily Black and brown communities, compared with levels in predominantly white neighborhoods. To remedy the disparity, researchers are calling for broad policy changes to help address environmental risks and curb pollution in places at high risk. Kerr, for example, suggests rerouting heavy trucks out of Black and brown neighborhoods and supporting greener public transportation options in cities. To learn more about how air pollution disproportionately impacts people of color in the United States, read “Dirty Air.”

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