Green Cities

Green Spaces Help Decrease Youth Asthma Rates

South Bronx is one of the most poverty stricken regions in the county, but poverty is not all that is plaguing their residents.  Nicknamed “Asthma Alley” by its’ residents, South Bronx has poor air quality that is negatively affecting the health of the people within the region.  In fact, nearly 50 percent of the children in South Bronx have asthma while the United States average is about 10 percent. A New York University study put air quality monitors in schoolchildren’s backpacks to examine the air pollutants that these kids come into contact with in their day to day life.  The results of this study show an alarmingly high pollutant rate, which is correlated to the high rate of asthma in the children who live in South Bronx. But why is this occurring? Not only is the region surrounded by expressways carrying loads of truck traffic, but there are waste transfer stations, meatpacking plants, and a sewage treatment plant spread out throughout the district.  Through the study, it was determined that at approximately 50 percent of elementary and middle schools are within two blocks of a major truck route, which only further increases the amount of pollutants that these kids are exposed to. How can we fix this? More green spaces! The New York Restoration Project has recently started a new project in the South Bronx in order to establish more green spaces in the neighborhood.  Similar to our Green Cities program, this project will help to make South Bronx more environmentally friendly and improve air quality.  Which in turn, will relieve South Bronx residents of environmentally caused diseases such as asthma. Mauria Obermiller, Intern