Photographs and Introduction by Emma Lockridge
My community of Detroit, most often known by its zip code 48217, is surrounded by more than 28 large-scale industrial facilities, all of which are regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state of Michigan.
The most polluted zip code in the state, it's been deemed a non-attainment zone by the EPA due to higher than permitted levels of sulfur dioxide and ozone, which contribute to an increase in asthma cases. Residents here also suffer from higher instances of cancer, heart disease, and other serious health issues that have made them more vulnerable to COVID-19.
In order to fully understand the devastating impact of pollution in our community, which is predominantly Black and low-income, we must consider the cumulative repercussions of these industries — and the systemic inequities that have permitted them for more than a century. For most people who don't live here, it's out of sight, out of mind. But to me, and to the more than 8,000 residents who make up our tight-knit community, the impacts are not so easily forgotten.
I want my images to be a wake-up call for overdue remedies to help Black people, like myself, who are most often trapped in poisoned places due to systemic racism.
These photographs paint a picture of what life in 48217 is really like.
To learn more about Emma's community, read 'We Fight So Many Battles' in Planning, October 2020.