Nizgui Gomez dreams that one day her community will be filled with trees and parks and that she and her neighbors will breathe clean air.
Gomez lives in Wilmington, California, a Los Angeles neighborhood that’s home to multiple oil wells and refineries.
“And we have so many diesel trucks coming in and out,” she says. “And not only that, but we also have the Port of L.A., which is one of the largest ports in the nation. So we have so much pollution coming from so many different places. And it’s hard to get access to clean air over here.”
She says many residents suffer from nosebleeds, headaches, asthma, and other health problems.
Gomez is an intern with Communities for a Better Environment, an environmental justice group. She says the organization has been rallying the community around the issue of pollution and health — and pushing for change.
In January, they won an important victory: The Los Angeles City Council voted to ban new oil and gas wells in the city and to phase out existing ones.
Gomez says the activists’ work is not done.
“We want to make sure that they actually follow through,” she says, “and they follow through in a reasonable amount of time.”
But the ban was an important step toward the Wilmington she dreams of.
“I’m so proud of all the community members who made this happen,” Gomez says.
Read: Burning fossil fuels heats the climate. It also harms public health.
Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media