Green Buckeye RN

Philanthropy News Digest: Residents Near Transportation Hubs Face Environmental and Health Risks, Report Finds
April 26, 2011, 10:49 am
Filed under: News

The rapid expansion of global trade and freight transport is causing negative health, environmental, workplace, and community impacts for those living near ports, railroads, freeways, and freight distribution centers, a new report from the Kresge Foundation finds.

According to Global Trade Impacts: Addressing the Health, Social and Environmental Consequences of Moving International Freight through Our Communities (96 pages, PDF), the problem disproportionately affects low-income residents, and while community-based efforts to address these problems exist, the powerful goods-movement lobby has prevented the government from fully addressing the issue.

A team led by Martha Matsuoka — assistant professor at Occidental College and the report’s principal author — studied the freight and cargo facilities, organizational resources, economic situation, and industry trends in seventeen of the largest regions where goods-movement systems are experiencing rapid expansion. Researchers found that residents and workers in these areas shared similar health and quality-of-life concerns related to air pollution, noise, lighting at port and rail operations, conflicts between incompatible land uses and public health, the potential for hazardous spills, and traffic congestion.

The report offers several recommendations with respect to what should be done to ensure that freight transportation is safer and more environmentally friendly, including connecting local and regional organizing efforts; strengthening, expanding, and linking national and international networks; conducting additional research on health and environmental impacts; forging and promoting public policies that mandate protective health measures; and increasing local government’s capacity to regulate and plan.

“Residents Around Transportation Hubs Face Increased Health and Environmental Risks as Ports and Related Facilities Grow.” Kresge Foundation Press Release 4/14/11.


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