New Haven faces a number of environmental challenges that make its air, water and soil contaminated and unhealthy for residents. The City has more than its fair share of polluting facilities and high diesel traffic, including: multiple power plants, a confluence of major interstates, a regional train depot, a deep-water port facility and associated pipeline that pumps oil throughout New England, as well as a sewer plant that imports sludge from around the state to incinerate in New Haven.
Compounding the impact of New Haven’s pre-regulation industrial history, local zoning laws have allowed the city to accumulate a high proportion of waste transfer stations and other polluting industries. The result: a plethora of brownfield properties, making it all the more difficult for New Haven to generate new (greener) business opportunities.
The public health consequences of New Haven’s environmental issues are significant. Poor air quality alone accounts for increased asthma hospitalization (highest in the state of CT), increases in respiratory illness, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, premature death, and stunted lung growth in children in our population. Polluted environments have many other health implications, impacting people’s ability to grow their own food, fish, or even enjoy the outside.
Despite these pervasive problems, many residents of affected communities are unaware of the issues and their own power to act and address them.
The New Haven Green Fund increases environmental awareness and action by supporting the efforts of environmental and grassroots organizations to advance environmental justice, community sustainability, and restoration of the natural environment.