Black neighborhoods burdened by industrial air pollution will finally get answers

In a pocket of neighborhoods in Northwest Atlanta, Black residents live among a cluster of industrial and transportation facilities that researchers fear are silently deteriorating the communities’ health.

Scattered amid the tree-lined streets of Collier Heights and nearby residential communities, there are wastewater treatment plants, a train yard, a power plant, a concrete facility, and an asphalt plant. Within the same 3-mile radius, more than 150 jets depart and arrive from Fulton County Airport each day, emitting toxic exhaust that irritates airways.

“I always make the joke that I’m allergic to my house,” said Collier Heights resident Lwanda Hall, who was raised in the community, decamped for the suburbs, and later returned. “Since I’ve moved back to Collier Heights 12 years ago, I’ve had allergies, and I’ve never had them before. And I don’t know if that’s attributed to the house, or me being in this environment or old age.” Read more about this collaborative effort which includes JPB Fellows Na’Taki Osborne and Christina Fuller.