Community Partners Fight for Clean Air
Thomas DiNapoli, the New York State Comptroller, issued a startling report that detailed the growth in health costs that taxpayers bear to treat this widespread and sometimes deadly disease. Medicaid program costs to treat asthma have jumped 26 percent in the past five years and the overall annual “asthma bill” is now $1.3 billion. Comptroller DiNapoli reported that the financial consequences of asthma are significant as hospitalizations cost $660 million in 2011.
The highest rates of asthma were found among individuals living in Yonkers and the Bronx although rural areas of the state are experiencing a rise in asthma rates.
Asthma is a complex disease and researchers are hard at work trying to identify just what causes it. But what triggers an asthma attack is well known: second‐hand smoke, pollen, mold, temperature and humidity fluctuation, stress, exercise, chemical fumes (cleaning products and pesticides) and indoor and outdoor air pollution are among the list of triggers.
According to the American Lung Association, good access to health care and a sound asthma management plan are key ingredients to reducing the severity and frequency of attacks. According to Comptroller DiNapoli’s report, New York has a long way to go to ensure that those with asthma in the Medicaid program have what they need to be successful.
SHARE NY and our members work to increase public awareness of the connection between poor air quality, fossil fuels and asthma.
Working together with our member organizations, SHARE strives to improve the economic, social, environmental, health and safety conditions of neighborhoods.
Last October, SHARE and the NY Hispanic Chamber of Commerce hosted a film screening of Pandora’s Promise at LaGuardia Community College in Queens, NY. The film told the stories of environmentalists and energy experts who became supporters of nuclear power as a clean, safe and reliable energy source that provides power without contributing to global warming.
Another important partner organization is the National Association of Neighborhoods (NAN). NAN’s mission is to improve the quality of life in the nation’s most important communities ‐ its neighborhoods. To further its mission, the Association’s more than 2,500 members collaborate, share and expand their resources, their knowledge, and their work.
The National Association of Neighborhoods believes nuclear energy is an untapped career for the next generation of Americans due to the high paying jobs found within the industry. Recently, a delegation composed of NAN and three other advocacy organizations traveled to France to learn about new nuclear technology and renewables. On their trip, they learned that over 80% of France’s electricity has been produced by nuclear power. In addition, the delegation engaged in discussions about public health, safety, jobs and diversity.
Clearly, our partner organizations are guided by their commitment to keeping our communities informed about the impact of energy policy. We believe that all voices must be heard as government policymakers debate and decide our energy future. After all, it’s our health and clean air that are at risk.
SHARE applauds Comptroller DiNapoli, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Neighborhoods for their efforts on behalf of communities most affected by asthma, air pollution and state energy policies.
Every day should be Earth Day as we strive to be good stewards of our planet, its people and its resources.
This Earth Day, you should become a member of SHARE and join us in making your voice and that of your neighbors heard.