Toxic Birmingham

encore-01A few minutes from downtown Birmingham, folks are trapped in communities with deadly levels of industrial pollution. Collegeville, Fairmont and Harriman Park — three of the poorest areas in Birmingham — are boxed in by heavy industry, raining soot and chemicals down on the residents and their property for generations. People have been trying to leave for decades, but many are stuck, unable to afford to get out due to declining property values.

GASP produced a 26-minute documentary called “Toxic City: Birmingham’s Dirty Secret” to tell the stories of the residents and the communities that have been affected by this toxic pollution. “Toxic City” will be available for purchase on DVD in August.

Policy decisions made years ago contributed to the relocation of African Americans, forcing them to raise their families next door to heavy industries exposing them to toxic pollution for generations. The problem still exists today. The air, soil and water are contaminated. The leaders and institutions of the Birmingham area ignore the plight of these neighborhoods and the polluters refuse to utilize available technologies to reduce contamination. Multiple agencies were forced to engage due to media exposure, but very little is being done and no policy changes have occurred.


“Toxic City” Photo Gallery

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CBS 42 brought major attention to this situation when it released the award-winning investigative report, “Deadly Deception.” Watch “Deadly Deception” parts 1 and 2 here.

GASP is committed to helping the impacted residents and reducing the pollution. Our involvement includes:

  • “Toxic City: Birmingham’s Dirty Secret”
  • Reviewing air permits from polluters in the neighborhoods
  • Supporting People Against Neighborhood Industrial Contamination (PANIC), a grassroots community advocacy group
  • Serving on EPA’s Coalition as a resource partner
  • Engaging leaders in the greater Birmingham area on the plight of impacted communities
  • Enlisting the assistance of researchers to gather and analyze data

Contact Kirsten Bryant to get involved in this important work.