Codman, Union Capital Boston, CSNDC, and Fairmount Indigo Collaborate on Air Pollution Education

Climate change and health flyer

Health care providers and environmental activists collaborated with civic organizations to share information with the community about how air pollution in the Dorchester-Roxbury area affects residents’ health, and how climate change is exacerbating the situation. About 150 community members logged on virtually on Dec. 15 to hear from physicians, lawyers, medical providers, and others about how air pollution can contribute to asthma, allergy symptoms, and other respiratory and cardiac issues and what we can do about it.

Physicians from Harvard Medical School spoke about the mechanism of air pollution and how it can exacerbate respiratory illnesses. They suggested how people can manage symptoms.

Later on, representatives from the Conservation Law Foundation outlined which Boston neighborhoods have the worst traffic and the most air pollution.

Codman Square’s Health Center’s Chief Medical Officer Renee Crichlow, MD, pointed out that urban areas where people are exposed to the most pollution have the highest rates of asthma and other respiratory ailments. During the pandemic when there were significantly fewer cars on the roads, people’s respiratory symptoms decreased, she explained.

“If you look at the sections of that map that show the neighborhoods with the most air pollution, they are surrounded by highways, they’re surrounded by diesel,” says . “During the pandemic, we had what is called a ‘natural experiment.’ There were fewer cars on the road and as a result, kids were healthier.”

Therefore, we know that reduced emissions can improve the health of community members. Representatives from the Fairmount Indigo CDC Collaborative shared how people can take action to advocate for change. There is a bill before the Massachusetts legislature seeks to electrify the trains on the Fairmount line, which will significantly cut air pollution in the neighborhoods.

For information on how you can get involved, contact the Fairmount Indigo CDC Collaborative.

The Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corp. and the Fairmount Indigo CDC Collaborative worked with the health center, the Conservation Law Foundation, Climate Code Blue, and the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments to host a Union Capital Boston Network Night on Dec. 15. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts sponsored the evening. Anyone who would like to watch a recording of the presentation can click here.