Maria Lopez-Nuñez on Pollution and COVID-19 in Newark

Published on April 21, 2020
by Ironbound Community Corporation (ICC)

According to an April 13, 2020 article on,

"New research from Harvard public health experts has found a link between air pollution and COVID-19 fatalities. That means people in New Jersey — particularly those in urban areas — may face a greater risk of dying from the coronavirus."

The article features HAL community partner, Maria Lopez-Nuñez:  

“Maria Lopez-Nuñez isn’t surprised by the Harvard study either. As the deputy director of organizing and advocacy for the Ironbound Community Corporation (ICC), which works on environmental justice and other issues in Newark, she's seen how air pollution hits low-income, urban communities of color like Brick City especially hard.

“Most people I know have respiratory issues,” Lopez-Nuñez said. “A lot of folks in our community just have trouble breathing.”

The lasting impact of air pollution is just one stressor on these communities during this pandemic, Lopez-Nuñez said. Higher than normal rates of health problems, like diabetes, add to the vulnerability of these groups.

“For so many reasons in black and brown communities, we already have these underlying issues," Lopez-Nuñez said. "It’s made baring the impacts of coronavirus that much scarier.”


Read the full article here: "N.J.'s coronavirus death toll is likely higher thanks to decades of dirty air"

Learn more about how pollution caused by Covanta, a corporation that provides incineration services in Newark, is contributing to health issues such as cancer and asthma in local residents and how ICC is fighting back: Covanta: Ironbound’s Unwanted Neighbor

Learn more about the environmental issues in Newark, NJ: Building Resistance in a Burdened Community