Thousands of Latino children cough and wheeze from toxic pollution and smog in our air, Latino business, medical professionals and community leaders nationwide have joined a major campaign calling on Washington policymakers to protect all Americans from dangerous air pollution.
Nearly one of every two Latinos live in areas where breathing is unhealthy and even deadly, according to a new report, Latinos and Air Pollution: A Call to Action released by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the National Latino Coalition on Climate Change (NLCCC), Center for American Progress (CAP), and National Wildlife Federation (NWF). This report comes on the heels of a shocking announcement from President Obama, blocking his own administration from adopting stronger smog standards that would have saved thousands of lives.
Scientists have known for decades that air pollution is linked to serious health effects, including asthma, bronchitis, lung and heart disease, developmental disorders, and increased mortality.
Ignoring facts and science, the Tea Party and others in Congress—backed by Big Oil and Big Coal—have declared all-out war on the Clean Air Act. Their goal? Stop the government from doing its job to protect us from deadly air pollution.
The targets of these polluter-funded attacks are important air standards that would save thousands of lives and billions of dollars in health care costs.
“Latino parents across the country should not have to worry about letting their children play outside,” said Lillian Rodriguez-Lopez, President of the Hispanic Federation and vice-chair of the National Latino Coalition on Climate Change (NLCCC). “Especially for the medically uninsured and underinsured, air pollution can have devastating consequences on the health and stability of our families.”
Experts stress that air pollution is causing our economy to suffer, as well.
“Air-related illnesses mean missed school and work, emergency room visits, and jobs lost,” said Adrianna Quintero, advisor to Voces Verdes and Senior Attorney with NRDC. “Americans can’t afford this burden on their wallets in these hard times.”
“Latinos want clean air and a strong economy” said Jorge Madrid, Voces Verdes board member and Research Associate at the Center for American Progress, “we are the fastest growing group of voters in the U.S., and we need to know our leaders in Washington are fighting to protect our health and grow jobs – those two things are not mutually exclusive.”
“The choice is clear. We can clean up our air and protect millions of people from respiratory disease or let our inaction undermine the health and economic security of our communities,” said Andrea Delgado, National Latino Coalition on Climate Change (NLCCC) Fellow and Senior Policy Analyst at the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA).
With 12.2 million Latinos projected to vote in 2012, candidates will surely make countless promises to the Hispanic community in the coming months.
“It’s time that their promises meant something—real protections for the health of Latino families, and for all Americans,” added Quintero.
“With so many lives at stake, will you promise to protect clean air?”
Voces Verdes is urging Latino groups and individuals to join the Promise Campaign and call on elected officials to put people before polluters.
The Clean Air Promise Campaign gives government leaders the chance to pledge to create a healthier, more prosperous future for our children.
For more information, visit: http://cleanairpromise.org.
Voces Verdes is the independent, non-partisan voice of Latino leaders for the environment. We are Latino business owners and community leaders who advocate for sound environmental policy and recognize the importance of balancing economic growth, environmental protection and prosperity.