What's the Connection?
We all take in incredibly large amounts of air, breathing in between 2,000 and 3,000 gallons of air per day. Imagine consuming 3,000 gallon-sized milk jugs worth of air-- that’s how much an adult breathes in a day, on average! We quite literally live in air, the way fish live in water. It’s on our skin and in our lungs, and the air we breathe has a significant impact on our health. That air is mostly composed of nitrogen and oxygen, but also contains the particles and gases that humans release.
Industry, transportation, and agriculture all release air emissions that people breathe in and that can be detrimental to human health. Health effects related to air pollution range from irritation of the throat and eyes to asthma and cancer. In fact, exposure to air pollution early in life is associated with childhood asthma. The combination of different pollutants, in addition to characteristics such as age, socioeconomic class, or pre-existing conditions contribute to a community’s vulnerability to pollution's negative health effects.
Why these communities?
South Oxnard and the areas along Ventura Avenue are disproportionately affected by environmental hazards, because of both high levels of pollution and because of socioeconomic factors. These areas are Environmental Justice communities and state-designated disadvantaged communities. This part of Oxnard actually has some of the highest asthma rates in California. Both Ventura and Oxnard have high levels of poverty, relatively low levels of institutional education, and what's called linguistic isolation, meaning many people in these areas don't speak English. These communities are more burdened than any community deserves to be.
My People, My Air is geared towards building an avenue for residents in these communities to be involved in the solution.