The Ground We Walk On

Out of sight out of mind is a saying that everyone is familiar with since it is true. We don’t get worried about air pollution, or landfills until we see a physical effect. Many people try to argue climate change because it’s still hot in July. That type of mentality is what causes us to neglect real issues like water, air, and soil contamination. Although it’s easy to see the effects of air pollution like the many people that are developing asthma and other breathing related conditions, it is harder to see what’s underneath us.

According to the site ,United States Environmental Protection Agency, since 2011 the EPA has been investigating lead contamination in Pilsen. They asked owners of over 100 properties in Pilsen n for permission to samples their yards and gardens for lead-contaminated soil. The high toxic that the soil is releasing could potentially affect the health of the citizens in Pilsen. Considering that Pilsen is close to highways and the paint in some buildings of these residences contains lead painting the immediate source of this pollution remains pending. In the article, Pilsen Alliance Chicago – United Building Community Power, it shows that many residents are pointing at the biggest industrial sources of the toxic metal in the Chicago area, the two coal plants that are blocks away from Manuel Perez Jr. Elementary School. Fortunately, the plants were closed down sooner than expected back in 2014.

Over time, this issue will hopefully be looked at in more depth by the EPA. As stated in the fact sheet titled, “Protecting Public Health and the Environment from Carbon Pollution After the Supreme Court’s Unexplained and Unprecedented Order”, it brings up the Clean Power Plan. If implemented on June 2 of this year the plan promises to reduce carbon by introducing,  “flexible, cost-effective compliance frameworks”.

 

Sources:

 

https://www.epa.gov/il/pilsen-area-soil-site

 

http://www.thepilsenalliance.org/high-levels-of-airborne-toxic-lead-pilsen-residents-demand-immediate-action/

 

fact_sheet_protecting_public_health_and_env_scotus_final

 

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2 thoughts on “The Ground We Walk On

  1. Melrose park residents found themselves in a similar situation but their issue was air. They were breathing polluted air caused by a printing plant that had installed10 printing presses that are capable of emitting “volatile organic materials,” also known as regulated air pollutants.The company didn’t obtain operating permits for the printing presses and two gas-fired boilers that also caused pollution leading to a lawsuit by Illinois Attorney General and Illinois Environmental Agency. It is unfortunate that companies or even individuals often have the “out of sight out of mind” mentality either due to shortsightedness or short time gains without considering the long term effects to themselves or people/ community around them.

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  2. It’s important that even in a lower-income community like Pilsen, the EPA is caring about the health of its citizens. I think the most powerful resource is getting the community involved as well, asking their permission to test for lead like you mentioned. This makes them aware that the contamination exists, and alerts them to the fact that some changes need to be made. Otherwise, nobody will care and entire communities could be in danger. Hopefully they do continue to look into this situation and make other changes such as the closing of the coal plants.

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