Delivery trucks are speeding around our community, trucks rumble to warehouses on city streets, and buses are full of commuters and students—they transport more than goods and people. They brought polluted air to our community.
This means that communities that are already facing the worst pollution will have more asthma attacks, more heart diseases and persistent inequality.
But President Biden and Vice President Harris have a chance—a narrow window of action—to make significant progress on this issue. They can keep the economy running by making these trucks and buses clean vehicles while protecting our health.
As the American Lung Association and 15 other non-partisan health organizations recently wrote: [Biden’s] With the vision of clean air, safe climate, healthy communities and environmental justice, we must solve the problem of emissions from heavy vehicles. “
How does the Biden government provide
By setting pollution standards that accelerate the transition from short-haul trucks and buses to zero-emission vehicles, the Biden administration can provide clean air and improve the health of millions of people living in the United States. At the same time, they can prove that wise government policies can help create high-paying jobs.
The best part is that the government has the power to set protective pollution standards under the Clean Air Act. There is no need for chaotic congressional struggles. Specifically, the government should formulate a new generation of multi-pollutant emission standards so that we can be on the road to achieve 100% zero emissions from new trucks and buses by 2040.
Science tells us that switching to clean buses and trucks can bring huge public health benefits. Children riding school buses are exposed to pollutants such as particulate matter, ultra-fine particulate matter, black carbon, and carbon monoxide, which can lead to inflammation, decreased lung growth, and more time absent from school.
Some communities face a greater burden
A study by EDF and Google in Oakland, California, mapped the communities with the most air-polluted communities—all close to highways and a port with heavy truck traffic. This shows that in more and more communities, the flow of delivery vehicles poses dangers, and these communities have established warehouses to serve our online on-demand economy.
As we all know, these effects are different for everyone. Almost all communities have delivery trucks, and most places have schools and buses. But historically unjust policies have resulted in ports, warehouses, highways, and other highly polluting commercial and industrial activities located in black, Latino, and Asian communities.
A recent study found that compared with white residents, black Americans, Latinos, Asians, and other people of color are exposed to 37% more traffic-related air pollution. This means, frankly, people breathe poisonous air because of the color of their skin. This is exactly the kind of injustice Joe Biden wants to resolve in his presidential campaign.
Speed up the electric vehicle industry
We know that the technology is ready to shift to zero-emission vehicles. All major automakers are already selling or are developing zero-emission trucks, vans and buses.
This is why companies such as Wal-Mart and FedEx have pledged to switch their fleets to electric vehicles. These companies recognize the need to achieve zero emissions in the future, and that there are more and more zero-emission vehicles that can bring commercial value.
Promoting the clean car industry in the United States also means that these jobs are created domestically—rather than importing all electric vehicles from places like Germany and China. Even so, individual companies cannot do this alone.
If we have strong leadership from Washington, we will only act fast enough to protect the community and save lives. Too many families are left behind. It’s time to face this injustice and at the same time deal with the main source of climate pollution.
Our communities have been living in this pollution for decades-generations of American families have faced illness, lost school time and shorter lives. But now we have a president who promises to take action on this. For those who are beginning to doubt whether the government can act to protect the people and solve injustices, Joe Biden may prove you wrong.