Using GIS to Examine Environmental Injustice in the South Bronx. The Case of Waste Transfer Stations

Naphtali, Z.S. & Restrepo, C., Zimmerman, R.
Connect, Spring/Summer 2007, pp. 23-28.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines environmental justice as "...the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies."2 Environmental injustice has been defined as the disproportionate exposure of communities of color and poor people, or other vulnerable groups, such as children and the elderly, to environmental risks.3

In the analyses described in this article, Geographic Information Systems (GIS)4 techniques and models were used extensively to facilitate and streamline the analysis of demographic and socioeconomic data about people living in close proximity to waste transfer stations and major highways, and to determine whether a disproportionate number of people in communities of color and poor people live in proximity to these sites. The area of application for this analysis was a portion of the South Bronx, New York.