Anna Gonzalez, a resident of Rialto, California, saw a disturbing sight as she drove through Rialto. Dozens of 18-wheel diesel trucks idled outside Amazon warehouse spewing toxic fumes near a high and homes gave her worries. Gonzalez was so furious that she started recording the scene on her Facebook page.
Rialto is an area east of Los Angeles, popularly known as the Inland Empire. The site is known for harboring warehouses that ship online orders from companies such as Walmart and Amazon. According to Gonzalez, as the companies increased, air pollution worsened.
Problems Arising from Toxic Fumes
Gonzalez’s frustrations began when she took one of her children, Jose, to the doctor. Jose was constantly coughing and getting sick. According to the doctor they visited, Jose had bronchitis and a developing asthma due to local pollution. Gonzalez noted that their family has no history of respiratory problems.
An advocate for the People’s Collective for Environmental Justice by the name of Anthony Victoria raised his concerns saying that the industry is booming but, the cost is seen through people’s asthma and cancers and the lack of good jobs.
The Company’s Take
Although Walmart declined to comment about the issue, Amazon has come out to defend its work in the Inland Empire. According to Amazon, they have created 40,000 plus good jobs in the region. Additionally, these jobs have helped Amazon workers build environmentally sustainable businesses and support the communities they live and work, according to Amazon’s spokesperson Xavier Van Chau.
A Positive Approach
In 2019, Amazon announced it would deploy 100,000 electric vehicles for its last-mile delivery operations by 2030.; however, this solution will not have much impact since larger freight tracks generate pollution. Additionally, Amazon ordered 700 medium and heavy-duty cargo tracks with low emissions to test as alternatives to its U.S fleets of diesel trucks.
Another solution is the proposed rules by the South Coast Air Quality Management District. The regulations would require warehouses and distribution centers within 100,000 square feet to reduce locally released emissions.
If the proposed law by the South Coast Management District is passed, substantial health benefits will come as a result. This agency estimates 150 to 300 fewer deaths and a reduction of 5800 asthma attacks from 2022 to 2031. The regulation will also bring about economic benefits by saving up to 20,000 workdays that would otherwise be lost to sickness.
Anna Gonzalez insisted that the fight must continue until the results are achieved.