As the 2020 race for Presidency of the United States unfolds, climate change is amongst one of the most pressing issues that the candidates are being asked to share their plan of action for. Americans across the United States are collectively acknowledging the climate crisis that has been unfolding over the years, 53 percent of Americans identify global warming as an “urgent problem that requires immediate government action,” according to a 2018 survey conducted by Langer Research Associates.
While the collective consciousness in America and throughout the world is building around the climate crisis, there is an urgent need to recognize that people of color in America are disproportionately left the most vulnerable to the effects of global warming and climate change.
The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) have released a new study that highlights the disproportionately detrimental implications of air pollution on Asian American, Latino and African Americans in the District of Columbia. The UCS Air Quality Report looks at the alarmingly high exposure of PM2.5, a dangerous air pollutant.
PM2.5 is an air pollutant that is about 2.5 microns or less. The pollutant can be emitted into the air through the burning of both diesel and gasoline fuel. Due to its size, PM2.5 can spread rapidly and easily into one’s bloodstreams and can cause short term effects including irritation, sneezing, coughing and trouble breathing. The air pollutant is also known to put people in jeopardy of long term health effects including respiratory and cardiovascular issues, some of which have resulted in hospitalization and deaths. Children, the elderly and people with a history of respiratory and heart problems are at higher risk if exposed to PM2.5.
The report will provide more detail about the exposure levels of PM2.5 in these communities of color in Washington D.C. in addition to more details about the source of exposure, a way forward for a more environmentally friendly transportation system and the District’s involvement in the Transportation & Climate Initiative.
For more information about the Union of Concerned Scientists, you can visit www.ucsusa.org.