Of the Top 25 Virginia Localities with the Highest Toxic Air Emissions, three are in the greater Richmond area, with two in the top ten: Chesterfield zip code 23836 ranks fifth, the City of Hopewell zip code 23860 ranks seventh alongside Hanover (23005) which is No. 20. These three zip codes combined had over 2.5 million pounds of toxic pollutants released into their collective air in 2014.
Local governments depends on the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to oversee pollutants of air, water and land. These reports seem to come as a surprise when reported. Locality typically lose must of the negotiating power
Clean air to breathe is taken for granted, but it is currently a issue of well being not enjoyed by our Virginia citizen who live closer to the facilities choking out this pollution, which will affect their health. The report is based on the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2014 Toxic Release Inventory (the most recent data available), a collection of the air pollution data available for most zip codes across the United States. This data is analyzed to create the final Sierra Club report.
“The data in the Toxic Release Inventory is self-reported by companies,” Kendyl Crawford, Conservation Program Manager with the Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club, said. “Corporate polluters have a clear conflict of interest here– some of this data is likely under-reported, and we know that emissions from non-manufacturing facilities and from operations with less than ten employees are not counted at all.”