What is Environmental Justice?
Throughout our communities, some bear a disproportionate burden of pollution and associated health risks. Environmental justice seeks to correct this inequity by reducing pollution and increasing public investments in these communities, while also ensuring their input is considered in decisions that affect them.
Recent state law (SB 1000) requires all cities and counties to update public policies to address environmental justice. In Santa Ana, we are seeking to build upon the important work that our residents have already started to improve conditions for residences, childcare centers, schools, medical facilities, senior care centers, and parks and recreational facilities in these communities.
What is an EJ Community?
An EJ community, or environmental justice community, is an area of the City where residents have the highest risk of exposure to pollution in the air, water, and soil. This pollution may be caused by passing vehicles (cars and trucks) or by the daily activities of businesses and institutions. Residents in these areas also tend to be burdened by socioeconomic and health issues, such as higher rates of language barriers, poverty, and asthma.
Such areas also tend to experience lower rates of investment and improvements from individuals, private companies, and public agencies. All of these factors can lead to unequal opportunities to lead a healthy and prosperous life.
Click here to see a map of environmental justice communities in Santa Ana.
The City is considering changes to its goals, policies, and actions that will improve existing and future conditions for all of Santa Ana, with a focus on those in greatest need of help and protection. Consistent with our General Plan Shared Vision and Core Values, the potential changes will emphasize:
Reducing exposure to pollution. Develop strategies and support regulations that will help reduce exposure to air pollution and hazardous materials.
Improving public facilities. Increase access to community health facilities, parks, community centers, and other public services and facilities, particularly in underserved areas.
Promoting healthy food. Improve the health and wellness of all residents through policies, regulations, and programs that foster healthier food options.
Creating safe and sanitary housing. Add to existing efforts to reduce health hazards associated with construction materials, building standards, and deferred maintenance.
Increasing physical activity. Establish new opportunities for outdoor and indoor recreation as part of a comprehensive and integrated network of spaces and facilities, with a focus on underserved areas.
Enhancing civic engagement. Increase the amount and quality of community engagement throughout the planning, development, and operation of our communities and City.
- City Factsheet. Click here (English) or here (Spanish) for a brief overview of how the City is incorporating environmental justice into our General Plan.
- CalEnviroScreen. Click on the following links from the State’s website to learn more about the latest version of the State’s data model (CalEnviroScreen 3.0), which was used by the City to identify and evaluate environmental justice communities in Santa Ana.
- Combined map showing the overall results and individual maps by census tract for 20 different factors related to environmental hazards and vulnerable populations.
- State website (English and Spanish) providing a comprehensive set of maps, links, and detailed discussion of the model and its results.
- Factsheet published by the State of California.
- State report with more details on the overall methodology, individual indicators, and statewide results.
- SB 1000. Click here to read the text of Senate Bill 1000, the Planning for Healthy Communities Act, which introduced environmental justice as a required topic in general plans.