How much pollution is there in West Hollywood?
The California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) created a tool to “identify California communities that are most affected by many sources of pollution, and where people are often especially vulnerable to pollution’s effects.”
The tool tracks 12 different pollution indicators. We think of them as falling into three categories: air, water, and land.
Diesel particulate matter
Toxic chemical releases
Traffic density (exhaust)
|Drinking water contaminants
Underground storage tank leaks
Pollutants in water bodies
Toxic cleanup sites
Hazardous waste facilities
Solid waste facilities
The tool combines these indicators into a single “pollution burden” score from zero to 10 for each census tract. The tool also calculates a separate score representing the vulnerability of the population. These two scores are put together to get an overall “CalEnviroScreen” score.
West Hollywood’s pollution burden
West Hollywood’s average pollution burden score is 6.5 on a 10-point scale. The averages for other California cities range from 1.7 to 9.6. Statewide, West Hollywood’s score is in the 85th percentile.
We also calculated West Hollywood’s overall score, which takes into account both pollution and the vulnerability of the population. The city’s average score is 26 on a 100-point scale. Scores for other California cities range from 2 to 67. Statewide, West Hollywood is in the 59th percentile for that measure.
Neighborhood pollution burden
Within West Hollywood, the pollution burden varies by neighborhood. The lowest scores are in the center city area around Crescent Heights and the Norma Triangle neighborhood on the westside. Among all census tracts in California, they are in the 62nd and 65th percentiles for pollution burden.
The highest scores in West Hollywood are on the eastside (90th percentile) and the westside south of Santa Monica Boulevard, extending east along Melrose (88th percentile). The scores for the rest of the westside (76th percentile) and the rest of center city (72nd percentile) are in the middle.
POLLUTION BURDEN PERCENTILES FOR WEST HOLLYWOOD-AREA CENSUS TRACTS
Average pollution burden compared to nearby cities
West Hollywood’s average pollution burden score (6.5) is lower than Culver City’s (7.7) and Burbank’s (7.8). We don’t know whether that difference is environmentally significant. The city’s score is almost the same as Beverly Hills (6.3) and the City of Los Angeles as a whole (6.4). Santa Monica’s score is even lower, at 5.8.
Differing pollution burdens within nearby cities
There are big differences in the pollution burden within most nearby cities. The differences are the biggest in Los Angeles, with a seven-point spread on a scale of zero to 10. Based on the CalEPA numbers, the city’s least burdened neighborhood is West Hills in the San Fernando Valley. The city’s highest score is in the area where the 110 and the 91 come together near Gardena.
There’s a three to four point spread among neighborhoods in Santa Monica and Burbank. Culver City and West Hollywood have a smaller two-point spread. In Beverly Hills, the differences are even smaller. The map below illustrates these differences in shades of blue.
POLLUTION BURDEN PERCENTILES FOR WESTSIDE CENSUS TRACTS
Comparison based on each city’s most burdened neighborhood
Given the differences within each city, we tried comparing them to West Hollywood based on each city’s most burdened neighborhood. By that measure, only one city scores better than West Hollywood: Beverly Hills (6.6 versus 7.3). West Hollywood’s most burdened neighborhood is less burdened than the comparable neighborhoods in Los Angeles (9.9), Burbank (9.2), Culver City (8.6), and Santa Monica (8.1).
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