Hundreds of toxic waste sites, predominantly in Black and Brown communities, will be at risk of inundation by sea level rise across California in the coming decades, a statewide mapping project led by UCLA and UC-Berkeley professors reveals. By 2050, Black and Brown communities will be five times more likely to live within half a mile of a flood-risk toxic site than the general population. By 2100, more than 400 hazardous facilities across the state will be vulnerable to flooding from sea level rise driven by climate change.
“The coast of California is marked by massive inequality. People don’t realize that because they go to Malibu, they go to Santa Barbara. Those are the beaches that people see and are familiar with,” Lucas Zucker, a longtime environmental justice advocate, told the LA Times. “They don’t think of places like Wilmington, West Long Beach, Barrio Logan, West Oakland, Richmond, Bayview-Hunters Point. You can name all these communities, and it’s the same story.” (LA Times $; Climate Signals background: Sea level rise)