EiJ Case Study for Azusa, San Gabirel Valley, California

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AHS site next to freeway

4. Who are stakeholders, what are their characteristics, and what are their perceptions of the problems?

For my research in the school sites and with sports coaches, the perception of air pollution ranges on a teeter from moments of fierce observance (such as engaging in an abundance of caution during a fire event) to non-existent (running laps for exercise next to vehicles on the freeway in stop-and-go traffic).

Azusa area EPA superfund page

5. What have different stakeholder groups done (or not done) in response to environmental problems in this setting?

The city has some outreach about air quality safety which is coupled with fire safety. Materials are accessible via the city website.

The EPA has tried outreach aswell.

The school district follows LA County officials on air quality safety.

Water remediation continues.


Azusa crime ravaging city

6. How have environmental problems in this setting been reported on by media, environmental groups, companies and government agencies?

The main environmental problem that brings media attention to Azusa are the fires in the San Gabriel Mountains. Water contamination, mining, industrial problems, are not covered on a regular basis. One problem that is routinely highlighted is Azusa’s crime. In 2020 it was said crime “ravages the city.” In the 1990s-2000s there was an FBI gang injunction on the Azusa 13 street organization resulting in more than 50 arrests in 2011.

AHS sports clothing wash room

7. What local actions would reduce environmental vulnerability and injustice in this setting?

Miller Brewery tanks

8. What extra-local actions (at state, national or international levels) would reduce environmental vulnerability and injustice in this setting and similar settings?

Regulatory enforcement.

EPA-Veolia Industries pollution remediation

9. What kinds of data and research would be useful in efforts to characterize and address environmental threats in this setting and similar settings?

Access to an archive of EPA and other environmental agency decisions and legal cases. Many such cases, like the screenshot for this slide, are simply not known by stakeholders.  

San Gabriel River Wash encampment

10. What intersecting injustices -- data, economic, epistemic, gender, health, infrastructure,  intergenerational, media, procedural, racial, reproductive -- contribute to environmental injustice in this setting?

News stories of encampments getting forcibly closed by police and residents evicted in 2019 and 2021 and video.


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Created date

December 8, 2021

Cite as

Fred Ariel Hernandez, Tim Schütz, Kim Fortun and Margaret Tebbe. 8 December 2021, "EIJ PHOTO ESSAY: AZUSA, SAN GABRIEL VALLEY, CALIFORNIA, USA", Disaster STS Network, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, last modified 1 April 2022, accessed 30 June 2022. https://disaster-sts-network.org/content/eij-photo-essay-azusa-san-gabriel-valley-california-usa