Environmental Health and Justice Bus Tour

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Date: September 9, 2019
Time: 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Location: Integrative Biosciences Center | Map
6135 Woodward Ave.
Detroit , MI 48202
Category: Tour

RSVP is closed.

Registrants of Wayne State's Global Health, Justice and the Environment conference are invited to join us on an Environmental Health and Justice bus tour on Monday, September 9, 2019 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The tour will begin at the IBio Building, located at 6135 Woodward, Detroit. Registration is required and seating is limited.

Points of interest on this free tour will include:

1. Ambassador Bridge/Gordie Howe Bridge:  In operation since 1929, the Ambassador Bridge is the largest international suspension bridge in the world. It is also America’s busiest border crossing; the bridge is responsible for approximately 25% of all trade between the US and Canada. With over 10,000 vehicles crossing it daily, many of them freight trucks, excessive diesel emissions are an environmental burden on both Detroit and Windsor, Ontario residents who live near the bridge.

A new international crossing, the Gordie Howe International Bridge, is currently under construction. It is estimated to be six lanes wide and provide direct access to expressways on both the USA and Canadian sides. Programs like the City of Detroit’s Bridging Neighborhoods initiative have provided assistance for relocating residents who reside in the path of the bridge and expanding highway infrastructure. Organizations like the Southwest Detroit Community Benefits Coalition have been working to make sure residents receive an equitable community benefits package.

2. Delray:  Delray, which means “Of the Kings (Del Rey)” is a neighborhood in southwest Detroit that has been part of the city’s industrial uses since the 1800s. Currently it is home to over a dozen facilities on the EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory. At one time it was a central location for Hungarian immigrants.

3. Zug Island:  Zug Island in Delray has been center to the area’s industrial footprint. Named after Samuel Zug, it was industrialized in the late 1800s. The two largest plants on the island are a mill for US Steel and a coke battery owned by DTE, the local utility company.

4. Wastewater Treatment Plant:  The Wastewater Treatment Plant is the largest single-site wastewater treatment facility in the United States. As of 2012, it served approximately 40% of Michigan’s population, concentrated across the metropolitan area.

5. 48217:  48217 is Detroit’s southernmost ZIP code, and has been named Michigan’s most polluted ZIP code by both researchers and community advocates. Within its borders a petroleum refinery owned by Marathon Corporation and other industrial facilities are juxtaposed within a residential neighborhood. 48217 is near the geographic center of an EPA-defined non-attainment zone for sulfur dioxide. Rates of cancer and respiratory disease among residents are some of the highest in the state.

6. Marathon Petroleum: The Marathon refinery in 48217 is the sixth-largest petroleum refinery in the nation, and the only one in Michigan. The plant produces 400,000 gallons of transportation fuel daily, utilizing raw materials from the Alberta (Canada) Tar Sands. The facility has sparked recent community concerns due to pollutant discharges, and Marathon’s requests for variances to the city’s Bulk Storage Ordinance in order to store petroleum coke, and refining byproduct, in open-air containers.

7. Detroit Renewable Power (Detroit Municipal Waste Incinerator):  Erected in 1986, the municipal waste incinerator was the largest solid-waste incinerator in the state until its recent closure. Although initially constructed by the City of Detroit to prepare for a forecasted landfill shortage, it’s ownership has been in the hands of private industry since 1990 with its most recent owner being Detroit Renewable Power.

Before its closure, Detroit Renewable Power was at the center of environmental justice complaints for consistent violation of air quality standards and severely impacting the health of residents near the facility. The owner announced its closure in March 2019, citing both financial and community concerns.

8. Eastern Market:  The Eastern Market is one of the country’s oldest historic public market districts, operating since 1891. It hosts a year-round produce market and other seasonal markets throughout the summer and fall. It has grown from a public market to a vibrant district promoting food security, local businesses, and artists.

9. Keep Growing Detroit Garden Resource Program:  Keep Growing Detroit is a non-profit organization dedicated towards helping Detroit becoming a food sovereign city, where the majority of fruits and vegetables consumed by Detroiters are grown by residents within the city limits. Their Garden Resource Program supports over 1500 backyard and community gardens in Detroit and the nearby cities of Highland Park and Hamtramck. It provides seeds, plantings, soil testing, training, and more to its members.