New pollution tracker to help voices of Houston neighborhood to be heard

Have you ever experienced dirty drinking water, oil flowing where it doesn’t belong, or lingering smoke so thick you can’t see the skyline?

These are just a few examples of the pollutants you can report on a new pollution tracker, an innovative program launched by Lone Star Legal Aid, a local nonprofit.

“One-stop shop,” Amy Dinn with Lone Star Legal Aid said.

The pollution tracker allows community members to report on what is happening in their neighborhoods. The reports will be sent to the correct agencies, so you don’t have to dig for contact information.

“We want to get those kinds of firsthand accounts, so that we can follow up with the state regulator and tell them the impacts of the community scene to hopefully increase enforcement penalties for these types of facilities that continually pollute in the area.” Dinn said.

Trinity Garden, a small predominantly Black and Hispanic Houston neighborhood, is facing resistance from concrete industry developers despite the community voicing health impacts due to proximity and concentration. Huey German-Wilson says concrete plants and even rock-crushing facilities continue to get approval to open.

German-Wilson grew up in Trinity Gardens and now serves as President of Super Neighborhood #48. In addition to her other duties, she advocates for a healthier and cleaner community and says this pollution tracker makes it easier for them to do so.

“We’ve got 311 with the city of Houston and at times you can use it, at times you can’t, but the tool that they’ve created is more user friendly for us. It’s just very specific to the environmental issues that we face.”- said Huey German-Wilson

Question: What would you and your community want to see change?

Answer: “Don’t expand concrete batch plants that are here, and don’t give us anymore because we have more than our fair share. There has to be someplace else in the city that has magical like we are, that you can put in these concrete batch plants because we’re constantly building, but that building isn’t going on in our community. It’s going on in other communities. So, let them have their own concrete batch plant. And when you’re done, roll this up and take it someplace else so that we all get some of this and not just inundating our community with it”

About the Author

I am grateful for the opportunity to share the captivating tales of weather, climate, and science within a community that has undergone the same transformative moments that have shaped my own life.

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