The Impact of Social Capital on Environmental Risk Reduction in Moncure
Despite rigorous efforts to understand and resolve environmental justice (EJ) issues, the complexity of the issues associated with many of these EJ communities continues to bring challenges to community residents and environmental researchers. Moncure, NC, located in northern Chatham County, is a rural community proximal to a cluster of several major industries. While the presence of these industries has helped the local residents maintain higher than average household incomes, it has also created environmental concerns (air quality and potential respiratory illness) for the community. In this study, the authors examine the impact of social capital in the form of a community coalition called the Southeastern Chatham Citizens Advisory Council (SCCAC) on the resolution of EJ issues in Moncure. EJ issues in Moncure have been investigated by examining trends in archived data from the U.S. EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) and by addressing residents’ pollution concerns, identified in Town Hall meetings, by designing a field monitoring study. Monitoring for the field study was conducted during one week periods in January and June of 2007. Preliminary results from the January sampling was compared with regulatory standard values, TRI data, and with results from a modeling study conducted by NC DENR Division of Air Quality (DAQ). Data indicate that the levels of released pollutants from local industries have been reduced during the overlapping time period when the SECCA has been active in trying to resolve the pollution issues, illustrating the potential impact of social capital on EJ risk reduction.
KeywordsSocial Capital Environmental Justice Community Coalition Toxic Release Inventory North Carolina Department
This study was supported by EPA cooperative agreement R-82946901. We are grateful to other community members, a group of volunteers from NCCU and Moncure residents as well as technical support from other departments at NCCU and EPA.
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