Boyle Heights roadway

In the Boyle Heights neighborhood of L.A., paint shops, rail yards, and factories surround homes and schools.

Darryl Molina-Sarmiento is with the nonprofit Communities for a Better Environment. She says in low-income neighborhoods of color like Boyle Heights …

Molina-Sarmiento: “We see a proliferation of various types of toxic industries and oftentimes those are under- or un-regulated. We as environmental justice organizations keep fighting these fights facility by facility, and so we wanted to push for policies that address it on a deeper level.”

'We as environmental justice organizations keep fighting these fights facility by facility, and so we wanted to push for policies that address it on a deeper level.' Click To Tweet

Her group helped create what are known as “green zones” in three L.A. neighborhoods.

Molina-Sarmiento: “That designation means that in any planning process, any new facilities have to adhere to more stringent regulations than in other communities.”

The rules require a buffer zone between homes and new industrial facilities. Other mandates include planting trees, building high walls, and enclosing equipment that generates dust, smoke, or fumes.

She says green zones provide a model that can help cities everywhere protect communities over-burdened by pollution.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.
Photo credit: Laurie Avocado / Flikr