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Topical Collection "Emerging Topics in Environmental Justice"

Editors

Dr. Jayajit Chakraborty
E-Mail Website
Collection Editor
Department of Sociology and Anthropology, The University of Texas at El Paso, 500 West University Avenue, El Paso, TX 79968, USA
Interests: environmental justice; environmental health; environmental hazards/disasters; social vulnerability; racial/ethnic disparities; GIScience; spatial analysis
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Sara E. Grineski
E-Mail Website
Collection Editor
Prof. Dr. Timothy W. Collins
E-Mail Website
Collection Editor
Department of Geography, University of Utah, 260 S. Campus Dr., Rm. 4625, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA
Interests: human-environment interactions; vulnerability; hazards, risks, and disasters; environmental justice; health disparities; climate change; water; wildfire; air pollution
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Topical Collection Information

Dear Colleagues,

Environmental Justice (EJ) research seeks to document and address the adverse and disproportionate environmental health and risk burdens associated with multiple dimensions of social inequality. Although its initial focus was on anthropogenic pollution, the scope of EJ research has expanded to encompass many other issues such as natural disasters, resource depletion, energy use, consumption patterns, food systems, climate change, and government policies that adversely affect the environment and health of particular social groups. Dimensions of social inequality examined have expanded beyond race and socioeconomic status to include age, ethnicity, disability, immigration status, indigenous identity, gender, and religion, as well as intersections between several dimensions of inequality. In a context of intensifying social inequalities, there is a growing need to further strengthen the EJ framework and continue diversifying its themes through cutting-edge research on emerging forms of environmental and health injustices.

This Topic Collection provides a forum for conceptual, methodological, and empirical scholarship on EJ. We welcome original case studies, literature reviews, critical evaluations of methodologies, and discussions of future research or data needs that focus on any aspect of EJ analysis, activism, and/or policy. Paper topics may include, but are not limited to, the following issues: anthropogenic hazards (e.g., air pollution); natural disasters (e.g., flooding); environmental health outcomes (e.g., cancer, respiratory illnesses); environmental amenities (e.g., parks, greenspace); environmental policies; climate change; food and agriculture; mining and resource extraction; water pollution and scarcity; and transportation.

Dr. Jayajit Chakraborty
Dr. Sara E. Grineski
Dr. Timothy W. Collins
Collection Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the collection website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (7 papers)

2021

Article
Differential Access to Park Space Based on Country of Origin within Miami’s Hispanic/Latino Population: A Novel Analysis of Park Equity
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(16), 8364; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18168364 - 07 Aug 2021
Viewed by 643
Abstract
Some U.S.-based park equity studies reveal that affluent and White neighborhoods have privileged access to greenspace. In such studies in the U.S. and elsewhere, park access indicators are typically examined in relation to measures of income, housing tenure, and broad race/ethnicity categories (e.g., [...] Read more.
Some U.S.-based park equity studies reveal that affluent and White neighborhoods have privileged access to greenspace. In such studies in the U.S. and elsewhere, park access indicators are typically examined in relation to measures of income, housing tenure, and broad race/ethnicity categories (e.g., Hispanic/Latino, Black, and White in the U.S.). The treatment of people as monolithic ethnic groups in park equity research is potentially misleading, particularly in global cities where ethnic populations are highly heterogeneous. In this study, we assess inequities in access to park space within the diverse Hispanic/Latino population of the Miami Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) based on national origin. We specified multivariable generalized estimating equations to examine social correlates of area-weighted park access at the census tract level. Our first model includes a variable for the proportion of the tract population of Hispanic/Latino ethnicity, which we substitute in the second model with variables representing the proportions of the tract population from the most populous country-of-origin groups in the MSA applicable to the Hispanic/Latino population. Our first model indicates robust negative relationships for the proportion Hispanic/Latino and Black/African American variables with area-weighted park access, adjusting for median household income, renter-occupancy, and old and young population composition. Our second model indicates negative relationships based on Cuban and Venezuelan neighborhood composition, while the four other country-of-origin subgroup variables exhibit statistically non-significant associations with area-weighted park access. Study findings have implications for the analysis of ethnicity categories in park equity research and interventions to promote park equity, especially in global cities. Full article
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Article
Particulate Matter Exposure across Latino Ethnicities
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(10), 5186; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18105186 - 13 May 2021
Viewed by 769
Abstract
The Hispanic/Latino health paradox is the well-known health advantage seen across the Hispanic/Latino racial category in the US. However, this racial category collapses several distinct ethnic groups with varying spatial distributions. Certain populations, such as Dominicans and Cubans, are concentrated in specific areas, [...] Read more.
The Hispanic/Latino health paradox is the well-known health advantage seen across the Hispanic/Latino racial category in the US. However, this racial category collapses several distinct ethnic groups with varying spatial distributions. Certain populations, such as Dominicans and Cubans, are concentrated in specific areas, compared to more dispersed groups such as Mexicans. Historical peculiarities have brought these populations into contact with specific types of environmental exposures. This paper takes a first step towards unraveling these diverse exposure profiles by estimating how exposure to particulate matter varies across demographic groups and narrows down which types of industries and chemicals are contributing the most to air toxins. Exposure to particulate matter is estimated for 72,271 census tracts in the continental US to evaluate how these exposures correlate with the proportion of the population classified within the four largest groups that make up the Hispanic population in the US: Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, and Dominican. Using linear mixed models, with the state nested within US Environmental Protection Agency regulatory region, and controls for population density, we find that the Dominican population is significantly less exposed to PM2.5 and PM10 compared to non-Hispanic Whites. Moreover, those tracts with a higher proportion of Cuban residents are significantly less exposed to PM2.5. However, those tracts with a higher proportion of foreign-born, Mexicans, and Puerto Ricans had significantly higher levels of exposure to all sizes of particulate matter. We discuss the need to consider the chemical components of these particles to better understand the risk of exposure to air pollution. Full article
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Article
Social Inequities in Urban Heat and Greenspace: Analyzing Climate Justice in Delhi, India
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(9), 4800; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18094800 - 30 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1165
Abstract
Climate change and rapid urbanization currently pose major challenges for equitable development in megacities of the Global South, such as Delhi, India. This study considers how urban social inequities are distributed in terms of burdens and benefits by quantifying exposure through an urban [...] Read more.
Climate change and rapid urbanization currently pose major challenges for equitable development in megacities of the Global South, such as Delhi, India. This study considers how urban social inequities are distributed in terms of burdens and benefits by quantifying exposure through an urban heat risk index (UHRI), and proximity to greenspace through the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), at the ward level in Delhi. Landsat derived remote sensing imagery for May and September 2011 is used in a sensitivity analysis of varying seasonal exposure. Multivariable models based on generalized estimating equations (GEEs) reveal significant statistical associations (p < 0.05) between UHRI/NDVI and several indicators of social vulnerability. For example, the proportions of children (β = 0.922, p = 0.024) and agricultural workers (β = 0.394, p = 0.016) are positively associated with the May UHRI, while the proportions of households with assets (β = −1.978, p = 0.017) and households with electricity (β = −0.605, p = 0.010) are negatively associated with the May UHRI. In contrast, the proportions of children (β = 0.001, p = 0.633) and agricultural workers (β = 0.002, p = 0.356) are not significantly associated with the May NDVI, while the proportions of households with assets (β = 0.013, p = 0.010) and those with electricity (β = 0.008, p = 0.006) are positively associated with the May NDVI. Our findings emphasize the need for future research and policies to consider how socially vulnerable groups are inequitably exposed to the impact of climate change-related urban heat without the mitigating effects of greenspace. Full article
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Article
Framing Environmental Health Decision-Making: The Struggle over Cumulative Impacts Policy
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(8), 3947; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18083947 - 09 Apr 2021
Viewed by 1345
Abstract
Little progress has been made to advance U.S. federal policy responses to growing scientific findings about cumulative environmental health impacts and risks, which also show that many low income and racial and ethnic minority populations bear a disproportionate share of multiple environmental burdens. [...] Read more.
Little progress has been made to advance U.S. federal policy responses to growing scientific findings about cumulative environmental health impacts and risks, which also show that many low income and racial and ethnic minority populations bear a disproportionate share of multiple environmental burdens. Recent scholarship points to a “standard narrative” by which policy makers rationalize their slow efforts on environmental justice because of perceived lack of data and analytical tools. Using a social constructivist approach, ethnographic research methods, and content analysis, we examined the social context of policy challenges related to cumulative risks and impacts in the state of Maryland between 2014 and 2016. We identified three frames about cumulative impacts as a health issue through which conflicts over such policy reforms materialize and are sustained: (a) perceptions of evidence, (b) interpretations of social justice, and (c) expectations of authoritative bodies. Our findings illustrate that policy impasse over cumulative impacts is highly dependent on how policy-relevant actors come to frame issues around legislating cumulative impacts, rather than the “standard narrative” of external constraints. Frame analysis may provide us with more robust understandings of policy processes to address cumulative risks and impacts and the social forces that create health policy change. Full article
Article
An Intercategorical Ecology of Lead Exposure: Complex Environmental Health Vulnerabilities in the Flint Water Crisis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(5), 2217; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18052217 - 24 Feb 2021
Viewed by 1376
Abstract
In 2014, city and state officials channeled toxic water into Flint, Michigan and its unevenly distributed and corroding lead service lines (LSLs). The resulting Flint water crisis is a tragic example of environmental racism against a majority Black city and enduring racial and [...] Read more.
In 2014, city and state officials channeled toxic water into Flint, Michigan and its unevenly distributed and corroding lead service lines (LSLs). The resulting Flint water crisis is a tragic example of environmental racism against a majority Black city and enduring racial and spatial disparities in environmental lead exposures in the United States. Important questions remain about how race intersected with other established environmental health vulnerabilities of gender and single-parent family structure to create unequal toxic exposures within Flint. We address this question with (1) an “intercategorical ecology” framework that extends the “racial ecology” lens into the complex spatial and demographic dimensions of environmental health vulnerabilities and (2) a multivariate analysis using block-level data from the 2010 U.S. decennial census and a key dataset estimating the LSL connections for 56,038 land parcels in Flint. We found that blocks exposed to LSLs had, on average, higher concentrations of single-parent white, Black, and Latinx families. However, logistic regression results indicate that the likelihood of block exposure to LSLs was most consistently and positively associated with the percentage of single-father Black and single-mother Latina families, net of other racialized and gendered single-parent family structures, socioeconomic status, and the spatial concentration of LSL exposure. Full article
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Article
Border Environmental Justice PPGIS: Community-Based Mapping and Public Participation in Eastern Tijuana, México
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(3), 1349; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18031349 - 02 Feb 2021
Viewed by 1659
Abstract
Community mapping projects have been studied as important contributions to the field of environmental justice and Public Participation Geographic Information Systems (PPGIS). As a collaborative project between the Colectivo Salud y Justicia Ambiental and Red de Ciudadanos por el Mejoramiento de las Comunidades [...] Read more.
Community mapping projects have been studied as important contributions to the field of environmental justice and Public Participation Geographic Information Systems (PPGIS). As a collaborative project between the Colectivo Salud y Justicia Ambiental and Red de Ciudadanos por el Mejoramiento de las Comunidades (RECIMEC), the “Mapeo Comunitario de la Zona Alamar” was created as a mechanism for community participation in the urban planning process in Tijuana, México. This paper outlines the project’s community mapping process, including planning, data collection, priority identification, and data submission. Results from this community mapping project are analyzed including the (1) particular environmental risks and goods in this border region, (2) the influence that the project data had on the urban planning process, and (3) the impact that the community mapping process had on community organizing capacity. Our findings point to particular environmental challenges in this border city including clandestine trash dumps, and contaminated water runoff points. The mapping project influenced the land use planning process by identifying the key environmental risks and goods to prioritize in the zoning and ground truthing urban planning data. The community mapping project also had a key impact on community organizing through the fomenting of knowledge and relationships between community members and government representatives at the city’s urban planning agency. Full article
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Article
Air Quality and Environmental Injustice in India: Connecting Particulate Pollution to Social Disadvantages
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(1), 304; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18010304 - 04 Jan 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1795
Abstract
While air pollution levels in India are amongst the highest in the world, the link between exposure to air pollution and social disadvantages has not been systematically examined. Using a distributive environmental justice framework, this study connects fine particulate matter (PM2.5) [...] Read more.
While air pollution levels in India are amongst the highest in the world, the link between exposure to air pollution and social disadvantages has not been systematically examined. Using a distributive environmental justice framework, this study connects fine particulate matter (PM2.5) concentration data derived from satellite observations, a global chemical transport model, and ground-based measurements to district level socio-demographic information from the 2011 Census of India. The research objectives are to determine if annual average PM2.5 concentrations (2010) and recent increases in average PM2.5 concentrations (2010–2016) are unequally distributed with respect to socially disadvantaged population and household groups, after controlling for relevant contextual factors and spatial clustering. Overall, more than 85% of people and households in India reside in districts where international air quality standards for PM2.5 are exceeded. Although PM2.5 concentration levels are significantly higher in more urbanized districts located predominantly in northern India, recent increases have occurred in less urbanized areas located mainly in southern and central India. Multivariable statistical analysis indicated: (1) higher PM2.5 concentration in districts with higher percentages of Scheduled Castes (SCs), young children, and households in poor condition residence and without toilets; and (2) higher PM2.5 increases in less urbanized districts with higher percentages of SCs, females, children, people with disabilities, and households with no toilets. These findings thus highlight the need to consider the role of air pollution in exacerbating the consequences of social disadvantages in India. Full article
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