Dr. Sacoby Wilson, an associate professor at the University Of Maryland School of Public Health and director of the school’s program on Community Engagement, Environmental Justice and Health (CEEJH), recently spoke to members of Prince Geoge’s County about environmental injustice and the importance of local action, reported the Prince George’s Sentinel.
Dr. Wilson presented CEEJH’s “Prince George’s County Environmental Justice Plan 2025,” which detailed racial and economic health disparities caused by environmental problems in the county.
The plan sheds light on ways environmental issues inordinately impact vulnerable populations.
For example, in one section of Prince George’s County, five power plants lie within a 13-mile radius alongside public institutions such as elementary schools and parks. The population around the plants is 72 percent African American.
Coal power plants increase the particulate matter in the air, which can lead to diseases such as asthma, heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s.
“This high concentration of power plants in Brandywine is not only an example of environmental injustice but also environmental racism, environmental classism and environmental slavery,” the CEEJH report says.
To combat these disparities, the report recommends creating county-wide collaborations to implement policies and improve the county’s water quality, air quality and food disparities.
“If we’re really going to advance environmental justice as a county and in the state, we have to do authentic community engagement,” Dr. Wilson said.
Dr. Wilson works extensively with issues of environmental justice and has received awards from organizations such as the Audubon Naturalist Society and the American Public Health Association.Tags: Friday Letter Submission, Publish on September 06