Environmental Justice

Environmental Justice


The Ironbound has historically been both an industrial and a residential community, where factories operate right next to homes. We are bound on all four sides by the airport, the highways, the rail lines, and the Passaic River, one of country’s most polluted waterways.

Ironbound is home to New Jersey’s largest garbage incinerator, one of the country’s most contaminated land sites — a former Agent Orange dioxin factory — and has both active and abandoned industrial facilities, close flight paths and active truck routes. As a result, our air, land, and water have been severely impacted.  

People gathered around a big, round school logo

When Superstorm Sandy hit Ironbound, delivering the Passaic River’s toxic waters into the community and drowning one worker, we learned first-hand the ravages that Climate Change can cause.

So, for the people of Ironbound, environmental injustice – the overburdening amount of pollution and other environmental problems significantly impacting public health and quality of life in low income, communities of color – is a real matter.  In response, Ironbound Community Corporation and the people of Ironbound organize around the Jemez Principles toward a Just Transition and control over our own destiny.

ICC’s Environmental Justice Program works with the community and partners across the city, state, and country to advance the cause of Environmental Justice.  We organize and advocate to:

inform and activate the community
affect public policy
reduce air emissions and clean up contamination
promote green, non-fossil fuel energy and sustainability
promote proper land use
promote Climate Justice
ensure no further harm
integrate EJ with all other Justice Issues

All aspects of the work of Environmental Justice-Community Development Team have grown out of our deep concerns for public health, quality of life, and our understanding of the need for community control over plans and actions taken to improve both.
Through many years of struggle, ICC and the people of Ironbound have had many successes, including:

the preservation of Riverbank Park
the development of Riverfront Park, Newark’s first waterfront park
the blocking of additional incinerators
toxic clean-ups
creating Blue Acres sites
developing an urban farm and community gardens
and more!

Another success of recent years was the development and passage of a City of Newark Environmental Justice-Cumulative Impact Ordinance along with our partner the NJ Environmental Justice Alliance.  This ensures that major industrial projects disclose their environmental impacts (the same information they provide to the DEP and EPA) so that Boards, including the Newark Environmental Commission, and the public can have a more holistic opportunity to evaluate their project in the course of the approval process.

ICC also Co-Chairs the EPA’s Passaic River Community Advisory Group (CAG).  Through the CAG and our ongoing EJ advocacy and organizing, ICC continues its many, many years of promoting the clean-up of the Passaic River and the restoring our stolen natural resource back to the community.

To see some of ICC’s studies and plans to improve environmental quality-of-life, click the links below:

ICC conducts Environmental Justice Tours of the Ironbound for individuals and groups, highlighting key issues and sites in the community.  If you are interested in participating in an EJ Tour, please send an email to eblanco@ironboundcc.org to make arrangements.