The Healthy Port Communities Coalition is focused on creating a healthier Houston by preventing pollution before it happens. Right now, Houston currently has 24,000 lane-miles of roadways which carry more than 465 million tons of goods each year. With the expansion of the Panama Canal, freight traffic is expected to increase by 56% over the next 20 years. And if we don’t do anything about it now, pollution is going to get a whole lot worse. Despite improvements over the past few decades, Harris County still receives an “F” from the American Lung Association for ozone pollution!
What Could Our Future Hold?
- More trains and trucks on the road meaning more congestion
- More freight vehicles meaning more pollution from diesel particles, smog, and hazmat accidents
- Massive increases in the size of rail yards and more frequent and longer delays at railroad crossings
In addition to the growth in freight, population is expected to increase by 60% over the next 20 years in the 13 county Houston area. The entire current population of California will be crammed into the Houston area, which again means significant congestion, increased delays, and more pollution.
Breathing exhaust is bad for health! Just one day of breathing diesel particles can impact your health. Here are some of the known health impacts of breathing diesel exhaust:
- Lung Cancer
- Cardiovascular disease
- Asthma and other respiratory ailments
- Impaired fetal development
- Infant mortality
- DNA damage
- Increased allergies
- Nervous system impairment
- Premature death
What we advocate for is simple. We want to encourage technologies that reduce pollution, save businesses money in the long run, and create good-paying jobs and support our economy.
Communities across the country have come together and demanded:
- Reduced idling
- Low or zero emission freight vehicles
- Creation of isolated high-speed freight only corridors to reduce congestion and pollution.
- A voice in planning their futures
We can join together to ask our city officials and representatives to reduce pollution and congestion by 50% over the next 20 years, to create a disaster and toxic risk reduction plan, and to ask our legislators to create an “amber” alert for toxic events.