Lending support & critical information for hurricane recovery

Analysis of post-Hurricane Ida pollution reports

Naomi Yoder, Healthy Gulf


Sheehan Moore, CUNY Graduate Center

Innovation and Description: Hurricane Ida Pollution Report

We compiled data from three different source agencies to document all known pollution events that occurred as a result of Hurricane Ida. The seemingly simple questions of “how much was spilled, of which substances?” were exceedingly difficult to answer over the course of eight months with dedicated researchers, and thus these answers are completely unavailable to community members in the aftermath of a disaster.

Other Participants:

Mira Olson, Gianna Monaco

Primary Disaster Justice Benefits:

We advocate for data access and transparency, since we know that communities and people on the ground don’t receive the information about what is in their air and water following a storm. We show how difficult it is to gather even a fraction of these data, and how the average member of the public does not have access to this basic information.

Secondary Disaster Justice Benefits:

The work is a tool for advocacy for environmental injustice and climate injustice, since the worst impacts of pollution following a storm is to the people who are unable to evacuate and who have the hardest time rebuilding. In other words, this report is a piece of evidence that people of color and low income communities can use to argue for equity and humane treatment in the evacuation and recovery around a storm.

Would you recommend others (disaster survivors, disaster-impacted communities) learn more about the activity, project or program to consider adoption of a similar one?

I recommend that disaster responders have a coordinated dataset documenting both pollution and public health impacts, and that these datasets are available freely and easily to the public.

What refinements additional to the ones you have implemented would you recommend others consider if they wish to adopt the activity, project or program?

We recommend a centralized publicly accessible database with air, water and soil pollution reports available in real time. We recommend that the major disaster response agencies have a coordinated central repository for information and responses, both onshore and offshore. We recommend polluting facilities be required to retrofit and/or put in prevention measures to ensure that the facility doesn’t pollute as a result of a storm.