Atlanta is a major metropolitan area that has seen a lot of growth and development in recent years. While this can be beneficial for the city, it can also have negative effects on the environment. Urban sprawl, or the rapid expansion of cities and towns, is one of the main causes of environmental degradation in Atlanta. This expansion leads to deforestation, which can cause increased pollution, floods, and soil erosion.
Additionally, the construction projects taking place in the city are contributing to air pollution and water pollution. The Georgia Planning Act of 1989 established procedures for the review of large-scale projects that could have regional impacts beyond the local government jurisdiction. This is important for Atlanta, as it has experienced a 75% increase in heavy downpours over the past seven decades. Water pollution from storm runoff is a major risk due to the city's combined sewerage system. When there is extreme rainfall, water from the pipes overflows and discharges waste into streams and rivers, which can be dangerous for people and the environment. In order to address these environmental issues, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has proposed a plan to create connected green spaces in southeastern Atlanta.
This plan focuses on areas that are predominantly inhabited by black neighborhoods, as they are more likely to be affected by environmental racism. The plan has received financial support from Cox Enterprises, which owns Atlanta's main newspaper, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Demonstrations have been organized in the city center, city hall, woods, and doorsteps of companies that finance projects in order to raise awareness about these environmental issues. 84% of those surveyed said they would prefer the former Atlanta prison farm to be converted into a park space. It is evident that development projects in Atlanta have had a significant impact on the local environment. To mitigate these effects, it is essential for the city to analyze the impacts and find ways to help solve these environmental problems.
This could include investing in green spaces and creating policies that protect vulnerable communities from environmental racism.