Airport communities are those that are within one, five, and ten miles of major commercial airports. They receive the brunt of pollution from landings and take-offs, as Tufts University reports at Los Angeles LAX and Boston Logan International Airports.
Even though the Washington Department of Transportation Aviation Division and the Governor want us to believe that sustainable (or alternative) aviation fuels (SAF or AAF) will be the answer, reality is much different. The aviation industry is so fuel thirsty, even without growth, it would take decades to convert agricultural lands to bio-fuel feed stock. This according to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS, June 2021 article: Can Bio Fuels Really Fly?) and a well-researched position paper by Seattle350. So harmful pollution will, no doubt, continue.
With it, homeowners and businesses, who can afford it, move away. Those who cannot, often turn residential properties into rentals, or give way to relatively low value commercial activity. Most people do not want to live near an airport, unless they have to. The decline in property values begins with announcements because values go along with expectations.
Land owners whose land is directly acquired for the facility are compensated. The surrounding airport communities are left to cope on their own with their long-term loss of health and wealth; they have no recourse. This is how wealth is shifted away from existing residential and business communities to the corporations who benefit from the airport business.
Commercial airports are incredibly dirty and noisy. We all know it through observation and personal experience, but more recent scientific studies, such as at King County’s Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SeaTac), bring the severity to light.
Pollution, physical and economic health are interlinked and the Community Health Report by King County/Seattle Health Department around SeaTac connects the dots:
Full report [ .pdf ]
Summary presentation by lead staff to WSDOT on August 26, 2021 [ .pdf ]
The airport communities around SeaTac have the highest proportion in King County of people of color, the lowest child education levels, larger than average cases of several serious health issues, and shortened life expectancy.
Klick below for at-a-glance conclusion:
|D1 Noise Pollution||D5 Ozone|
|D3 Fine Particulate Matter||D7 Nitrogen Dioxide|
|D4 Ultra-fine Particulate Matter||D8 Sulfur Oxide|
Click here for the summary inequity slide from the University of Washington Mov-Up study. The latter contributed to the Seattle/King County SeaTac study.