SF Baykeeper Calls for Action: Submit Photo Evidence of Coal Pollution in Oakland

A drone aerial shot of large pile of dark dust, which is coal, inside an open top container
A pile of coal at the Levin shipping terminal, Port of Richmond. Photo courtesy of SF Baykeeper, taken circa 2021.

SF Baykeeper, an environmental nonprofit, is looking for photo evidence of coal pollution in your neighborhood. In Oakland, that would primarily be areas in West Oakland along the train tracks, as well the corridor running from Jack London Square to the Coliseum in East Oakland.

Why are they seeking photos?

The organization along with other environmental and health organizations, is petitioning the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate open top coal trains, which can blow coal dust into local neighborhoods and waterways.

“Exposure to coal dust from the trains can increase the risk of bronchitis, asthma, heart disease, and other serious health issues. Coal dust and particles can also contaminate drinking water and aquatic life, threatening public health and the livelihood of fishing communities,” the statement reads.

The organization is looking for photos of trains with open tops carrying coal, or other photo evidence of coal dust and pollution. “Many local residents have already reported coal dust pollution on their windowsills, in schoolyard playgrounds, and other places,” according to the organization.

If you’d like to submit photos of open railway cars carrying coal, or evidence of coal pollution in your neighborhood, fill out the form on SF Baykeeper’s website.

Author Profile

Momo Chang is a freelance journalist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is the Oakland Voices Co-Director. Her work focuses on healthcare, immigration, education, Asian American communities, food and culture. She is a former staff writer at the Oakland Tribune. Momo has received journalism awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for investigative reporting and the Asian American Journalists Association, among others. Her work has appeared in the East Bay Express, San Francisco Chronicle, Wired, and The New York Times. Momo is primarily a print journalist who also produces audio and visual stories for documentary film and radio. She is a Senior Contributing Editor for Hyphen and formerly the Content Manager at the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM).

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