Study: Metro Atlanta’s poor, minorities live near worst pollution

GreenLaw study’s ‘environmental justice hotspots’ include Fulton, DeKalb counties


  • GreenLaw
  • ‘Environmental justice hotspots’ are more often found in areas where minorities, people living on low incomes live

It’s not a shocker but it’s still depressing to see: According to a new report (PDF) by an environmental law firm and advocacy group, metro Atlanta’s minorities, people living on low incomes, and families who speak a language other than English are more likely to live near and be affected by pollution than whites and those with higher incomes. And in contrast to the federal government, the state lags behind when it comes to addressing such environmental justice issues.

Researchers with GreenLaw, an Atlanta-based environmental law firm, broke the 14-county metro region up into equal-sized square blocks and analyzed the overlap between demographics and types of pollution including brownfields, landfills, and facilities emitting pollutants, inside each. (If you’re curious how your neighborhood stacks up with others, you’re in luck.)

The team identified five of metro Atlanta’s “environmental justice hotspots” — the worst of which is the area where Douglas, Fulton and Cobb counties converge near Fulton Industrial Boulevard and the Chattahoochee River.