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New app shows US citizens how dirty their neighbourhood is

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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the United States has published a new app which will allow its users to view exactly how clean or filthy their neighbourhood is via an interactive map. The free to download app works in a similar way to Google Maps but also has data available relating to water quality, traffic levels and air pollution.

Named the EJSCREEN (for Environmental Justice Screen), the app can even offer such detailed information as lead paint levels in an area and proximity to the nearest toxic waste dump. Furthermore users can compare data related to environmental factors with demographic data including minority populations, low-income earners, linguistically isolated, education below high school level and age. Comparing these parameters creates an overall EJ index which can then be compared with other areas in the region, state or entire country.

The features of the EJSCREEN coincide with the overall aim of the app which is to bring the problem areas of regions into focus. Often areas of high toxicity are populated by the minority groups, low income earners and illegal immigrants. In many cases these areas once served as dumping grounds for environmental waste.

The EPA has developed the app in response to the governments push for environmental transparency. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy says that “EJSCREEN has been a valuable resource for EPA to advance our commitment to protect Americans most vulnerable to pollution. I’m excited to share this tool with the public to broaden its impact, build transparency, and foster collaboration with partners working to achieve environmental justice.”

The EJSCREEN is currently in its early stages and the EPA will be working together with citizens to develop a more refined and comprehensive product next year.

Last modified on Tuesday, 16 June 2015 15:19

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