EPA is awarding a total of $75,000 in grants to the City of Bridgeport to support asthma reduction efforts, water quality improvements in Long Island Sound and a paper recycling program at two local schools.
The funds are part of EPA’s commitment toward environmental justice (EJ) efforts for the City, one of 10 communities selected nationwide to highlight ways to address environmental justice challenges. In December, EPA committed $100,000 to fund projects in Bridgeport over the next two years.
“Working with Administrator Lisa Jackson, EPA is laying the groundwork for new policies and initiatives that will make environmental justice part of everyday environmental action in this nation,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “These grants in Bridgeport are providing important funds that will help protect health and our environment. They also will help ensure that we are expanding the dialogue and hearing all voices that need to be part of the conversation on environmental issues.”
The Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice was awarded a $25,000 grant to reduce asthma in Bridgeport. The project will coordinate a community fair focused on asthma and bring together city organizations working on asthma and healthy homes to effectively share resources. The asthma fair will educate approximately 100 community members about asthma signs, symptoms and triggers. The project will convene city government agencies to develop a new Healthy Homes program and will target 15 Bridgeport families suffering from asthma to improve health outcomes. A final goal of this project is to work with the Bridgeport School Department to promote implementation of EPA’s Tools for School Program. “Tools for Schools” works with teachers, administrators, parents, school nurses and custodians to identify environmental health risks in local schools and develops recommendations to address them.
Groundwork Bridgeport was awarded a $25,000 grant to improve water quality in Long Island Sound. The project goals are to train and develop 20 Bridgeport youth water resource protection advocates, mark 600 street drains indicating that they drain into Long Island Sound and must be kept clean, and organize four neighborhood meetings for residents and local businesses about how they can protect water resources. Increased public awareness about water resource stewardship may result in behavioral changes to reduce pollution in storm drains and improve water quality in Long Island Sound. Given the amount of subsistence fishing, there may also be health benefits as a result of reduced fish consumption from the Sound.
The third $25,000 grant was awarded to the Bridgeport Board of Education and the City of Bridgeport to pilot a paper recycling program at two local schools. The project goals are to establish school recycling teams, educate youth and their families about recycling and its benefits, and increase the recycling capacity of the schools. This pilot program is the first step towards comprehensive recycling and will serve as a model to all other Bridgeport schools. Increased recycling reduces solid waste incineration and will result in improved air quality and may reduce asthma.
More information: Environmental Justice issues in New England.