A new survey shows people living in low income and minority communities are often subject to the worst air pollution in the state.
The Sierra Club sorted the most recent air pollution data from the Environmental Protection Agency by zip code. The top five communities in Virginia include the cities of Hopewell and Covington as well as Chesterfield, Buchanan and Isle of Wight Counties.
While the affected communities vary greatly in both geography and their urban or rural character, the Sierra Club says they’re often presented with the same false choice that environmental protections can only come at the cost of economic opportunity.
Emissions have dropped substantially since tracking began in 1988. Still, the Sierra Club notes that 19.6 million pounds of toxic chemicals were released into Virginia’s air in 2015. Just four facilities account for nearly 40 percent of that total.