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Los Angeles Trying to Make a Few Neighborhoods a Little Less Polluted

New rules require a buffer between polluting businesses and homes

Things are looking a little bit up for three notoriously polluted Los Angeles neighborhoods. The LA City Council has approved a new suite of rules that will try to begin to stem the awful health repercussions faced by communities that experience heavy pollution from traffic and industry, reports the LA Times.

The new Clean Up, Green Up ordinance will start with some minor regulations in three working class communities with well-known pollution issues: Boyle Heights, Wilmington, and Pacoima and Sun Valley. "These communities have notoriously been the dumping ground for the city’s intense industrial land uses. Today we take a pivotal first step to address the health of our communities," Councilmember Nury Martinez said at a rally leading up to the passing of the regulations.

In these areas, new businesses or existing ones hoping to expand will have to follow new regulations dictating their setbacks and landscaping, and creating barriers between their businesses and surrounding residences. (For example, there will now have to be a 500-foot "buffer" between people's homes and auto shops.)

The ordinance also has a citywide element that states that any new projects within 1,000 feet of a freeway have to install air filtration systems that can filter out harmful emissions, says City News Service. That rule applies to existing homes and businesses making changes to their heating and cooling systems too.

The new rules will roll out as a pilot program, but they'll affect more than 1,000 businesses across the three communities. The city is appointing an ombudsperson to help businesses comply with all these new regulations.