City of Chula Vista adopts pollution prevention policy
provided by the Environmental Health Coalition
ast month the Chula Vista City Council voted to adopt
a municipal Pollution Prevention Policy. The Policy will require city departments
to evaluate their use of toxic and hazardous materials and develop plans
for reducing their use of these substances, reducing toxic exposures to
city workers and the public. The Policy is the culmination of a multi-year
Municipal Pollution Prevention project conducted by the city in partnership
with Environmental Health Coalition (EHC). Chula Vista is the first city
locally, and one of the first in the country, to formally adopt pollution
prevention as a city policy.
EHC obtained a grant from Jesse Smith Noyes Foundation
in 1993 to: (a) audit the use of toxic products in City operations; (b)
make recommendations for reducing the use of toxic materials used in City
operations; and (c) create a model for other cities to follow. EHC selected
the City of Chula Vista for the project because of its record of environmental
Pollution Prevention is the best environmental strategy
because reducing or eliminating the use of toxic materials reduces their
hazards at every stage: manufacturing, transportation, use and disposal.
Most pollution prevention initiatives are aimed at manufacturing industries
or businesses such as auto shops that use toxic materials in their work.
However, use of toxics occurs in substantial quantities in other settings,
such as municipalities, churches and hospitals. Toxics typically used by
cities include pesticides for buildings and parks, chlorine gas for swimming
pool disinfection, lead-based street paints and heavy-duty cleaners. The
benefits of reducing institutional use of toxics include a healthier working
environment for employees and the visiting public, a contribution towards
improved environmental quality and encouraging the growth of businesses
which provide least-toxic services and products:
The Policy was adopted by a unanimous vote of all Council
members present: Mayor Shirley Horton and Councilmembers Scott Alevy, Steve
Padilla and Jerry Rindone. Councilman John Moot was not present for the
vote. Environmental Health Coalition applauds the Chula Vista City Council
and staff for continuing environmental leadership.
- Some cost savings are expected as well. EHC worked with City staff
to evaluate the City's use of toxics. Among the audit findings:
- The City had already made significant reductions in its use of toxics.
Virtually all building paints and coatings are now water based; chlorine
gas has been replaced by liquid chlorine bleach at City swimming pools,
and pesticide use has been reduced at City buildings and parks.
- 24 different pesticide applications were identified, with annual total
of 15,700 pounds. The highest priority for phase-out of all pesticides is
the herbicide 2,4-D, a suspect carcinogen, which is used in two formulations
at Marina Park.
- The single largest use of a toxic material is the gasoline dispensed
to City vehicles from the fuel tank at the City operations yard. The City
is now engaged in testing alternatives to gasoline-powered vehicles for