The region’s air is getting cleaner thanks in part to stronger federal standards on emissions, but Newark’s neighborhoods continue to be affected by the cumulative impact of many different sources of pollution.
Newark is subject to a heightened amount of environmental pollution due to its dense transit network including a major airport and seaport, concentration of industrial uses, and home to waste and sewer treatment facilities. Harmful emissions are released by cars, trucks, smokestacks, chimneys, and major power plants, heavily polluting Newark’s air. As a result, Newark has one of the highest rates of asthma, more so than any of the other towns in Essex County.
In an attempt to make changes and improve the overall health of Newark, the New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance (NJEJA) and the Department of Economic and Housing Development, Office of Planning, Zoning, and Sustainability worked on developing an ordinance to prohibit these behaviors for years. On July 15, 2016, the Environmental and Cumulative Impacts Ordinance was finally passed. The ordinance requires developers requesting environmental permits to inform the City of any environmental impacts. It also addresses the environmental injustices of current practices that negatively impact the city and its residents. This ordinance will help move the city in a healthier direction without slowing or impeding economic development.