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Community advocates in Encanto celebrate environmental justice

Many of San Diego's underserved communities are feeling the effects of pollution and climate change.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — On Wednesday, local advocates in Encanto gathered for Environmental Justice and Climate Equity day and local say this is a great first step because it’s about awareness. 

However, they also say more needs to be done for underserved communities.

"When we hear these conversations about climate change, and extreme weather, we laugh about it like 'oh, it was 90 degrees yesterday and now it’s freezing,' we laugh about it...it's not something to laugh about," said Jacquelyn Clark.

Clark is a member of the San Diego branch of the NAACP and a climate ambassador for the group.

Clark spent Wednesday highlighting environmental injustices.

"We all live and breathe the same air, why can’t it be the same across communities," said Clark.

Clark says certain communities in San Diego are seeing more and more pollution. Neighborhoods like Linda Vista, Midway district, and eastern parts of the City need vital investments. 

"Maybe shifting the truck routes, maybe certain times limiting that transportation, trees and the shade," said Clark. 

Some of the organizations at Wednesday's conference included “I am green,” San Diego's urban sustainability coalition and climate action campaign. 

They believe more needs to be done, like adding more housing near public transportation and additional electric charging stations.

"The goal would be fairness, equity equality and and the city intentionally prioritizing these communities of concern," said Madison Coleman, policy advocate and for climate action campaign.

Coleman is a policy advocate for climate action campaign and she’s here to say there are areas of San Diego that are being ignored.

"The climate action plan update has a plan goal of 35% shade tree target," said Coleman. "We want the city to invest specifically in communities of concern historically cause air pollution and asthma," 

These communities of concern are broken down into 13 areas. 

Coleman is asking the city to invest, educate and include feedback from the community before making policy decisions.   

"As a black person, it affects me personally and I think city governances and city council members should stick to the promises they’ve created," said Coleman. 

Advocates told CBS 8 that they are concerned about the high rate of asthma and cardiovascular disease in communities, such as, Ocean View, South Crest and Shell Town. 

And that’s something that cannot be ignored for communities throughout San Diego.  

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