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  • Patrick Donohue

New report reveals concerning truth about homes located near megawarehouses: 'It's diminished our ability to thrive'

"The closer that they live to a warehouse … the more dangerous the side effects are for them."



Megawarehouses, large complexes that store and distribute goods, are a crucial element of the modern economy. These facilities handle everything from farm equipment to airplane parts. While they play an important role, concerns about their environmental impact have grown.


What's happening?

According to the Environmental Defense Fund and ElectrifyNY and summarized by Grist, one in four New York residents lives within half a mile of a megawarehouse. These facilities bring more than just jobs and economic activity; they also introduce unwanted noise, light, and pollution into communities. 


The massive amount of diesel fuel pumped into the air by trucks constantly entering and leaving these megawarehouses are the main concern for people living nearby.


Arif Ullah, the executive director of South Bronx Unite, a community improvement group in New York City, argues megawarehouses are often harmful to the health and well-being of local communities. 


"At every point in a person's life, exposure to air pollution is impacting them in a very detrimental way and … diminished the quality of life," Ullah said. "It's diminished our ability to thrive."


Why is warehouse pollution concerning?

Dr. Christopher Carlsten, an expert in lung diseases caused by environmental factors, put the concerns about diesel pollution in simple terms: "It produces a large number of very small particles." 


Once those pollution particles enter a person's lungs, they can cause health problems. According to the Environmental Defense Fund, 21,000 children are diagnosed with asthma in the New York metropolitan area each year. These diagnoses are due, in part, to diesel pollution.


"The concern is that research over decades has shown that virtually every part of the body is affected," Carlsten said.


What's being done about warehouse pollution?

Across New York, concerned citizens are turning to activism to voice their concerns. Stephanie Joseph, a resident of upstate New York, is one such example. After learning a 1.7 million-square-foot warehouse was being built on the property next to hers, she became concerned about the impact of such a building on the community and wildlife.


"You look at the studies and you realize, the closer that they live to a warehouse, especially a megawarehouse, the more dangerous the side effects are for them," she said.


Joseph has formed a group, No Warehouses in the Woods, to raise awareness of the issues caused by megawarehouses.


Her activism exemplifies the growing desire to protect the environment, public health, and natural beauty. In the push for healthier communities, other initiatives have found success such as the adoption of solar-powered storage facilities and electrification of delivery fleets, paving the way for cleaner air and better health outcomes.

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