A new app lets you know just how clean or filthy your neighborhood is at any given time. Published by none other than the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the app allows U.S. citizens a clear idea about the locality they live in or are thinking of moving into.
The EPA has launched a free app that offers a never-before-seen detailed look at the environmental quality of American cities. The app offers comprehensive figures and statistics for water quality, traffic levels, air pollution, and much more on the interactive map that’s quite similar to Google Maps.
Creatively titled EJSCREEN (Environmental Justice Screen), the app offers such eye-opening details like the amount of lead paint observed in the area to the location of the nearest toxic dump. The primary intention behind the development of the extensively informative map is to bring forth the problem areas of regions that are often hidden from plain sight. Needless to say, some of the most toxic regions are inhabited by the poorest of citizens and people of “colored” ethnicities or illegal immigrants. Many of the troubled regions served as dumping grounds for environmental waste before being occupied by people.
With all these parameters, EJSCREEN charts demographic indicators and pits them against environmental factors. You can refine your search parameters for data like who are of a minority population, in a low-income bracket, linguistically isolated, educated below high school level, under the age of 5 or over the age of 64. Comparing the parameters produces an overall EJ index. Those interested can also compare areas against the region, the state or the U.S as a whole, shared says EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.
“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 mapping tool is available as an ongoing response to a presidential directive for environmental transparency. EPA cautions the tool is still in its infancy and is a work in progress. With suggestions from the citizens, EPA plans to launch a more refined and even more comprehensive tool next year.
Environmental quality is not the parameter that a real estate broker will dwell on, apart from the glorifying aspects like trees and parks in the vicinity. But EJSCREEN can truly offer a wealth of information that’s often buried in government records.
[Image Credit | David McNew / Getty Images, EPA]