Through its dealings and defeat of the LANCER project, CCSCLA members realized that there is more to the environment than just hazardous waste, chemicals, and air quality control- "our environment is also the quality of our housing stock, the conditions of our schools and the safety of our neighborhoods. All of these factors effect how we are able to happily co-exist in the same community."
CCSCLA continues to work on environmental issues such as recycling, the cleaning of alleyways and streets, childhood lead poisoning prevention, storm drain protection, used motor oil recycling, teen worker rights, among others affecting community members' quality of life.
CCSCLA states that they will conduct further environmental awareness workshops within communities as the need and topics for them present themselves.
In the summer of 1985, Robin Cannon and Charlotte Bullock established CCSCLA is response to the proposed construction of the Los Angeles City Energy Recovery (LANCER) municipal waste incinerator. The waste facility would burn million of tons of waste during its operation causing concern for citizens of the pollutants that would be emitted. Cannon and Bullock were concerned South Central Los Angeles was chosen for the incinerator's location because of the community's high unemployment rate, low average income, and high population of people of color. The LANCER was to be built in a vacant lot, near Jefferson High School and a public recreation center in a residential area of 16,000 people. LANCER was estimated to cost $170 million to construct. According to The Los Angeles Times, facility would employ highly trained and specialized personnel that would mostly live outside of the community so its construct would not provide jobs for those living near LANCER. In June 1987, Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley announced that the LANCER project would not be completed.
Healthcare for community members affected by pollution created from LANCER
Pollution created from LANCER and like projects has severely affected the health of members of South Central Los Angeles communities. Inhabitants of these communities are largely racial and/or ethnic minorities of low-income. Mothers in these communities explain that they and their children already face pre-existing health conditions unable to be addressed because of the cost and accessibility of the current healthcare system—conditions such as asthma, influenza, cancer, heart disease, and/or pneumonia. Ailments of community members are magnified through added health problems caused by pollution in the environment of south-central inhabitants (such as trash-burning from incinerators, chemical exposure from power plants, etc.).
Alley Clean Up Program
Alleys in CCSCLA's area of concern were considered to be the worst in Los Angeles around the time of its founding. They are used for illegal trash dumping, sites for drug trafficking and crime, and have little to no lighting. Block club participants submitted a petition to the city of Los Angeles demanding that alleys be cleaned, closed to traffic, and fenced off with access only to residents of these communities. This petition resulted in alley clean ups and closures that prevent crime and illegal dumping. CCSCLA also entered into a pilot program with the city of Los Angeles to train community residents, including those formerly incarcerated, to do alley clean up and pothole repair. Fifteen community residents were ultimately given full-time, permanent employment through this pilot program.
The environmental justice issues which CCSCLA is involved in raise several concerns along the lines of public health. Because of the close proximity of developments such as incinerators, plants, and/or factories to places in which people live in south central LA, residents are at increased risk of developing health problems relating to prolonged exposure to pollution and toxins.
Part of CCSCLA's work within the community is to raise awareness and promote community engagement of environmental justice issues—this involves not only environmental upkeep and well being, but the health of residents in these communities as well. CCSCLA hopes that in spreading awareness, health literacy will increase within communities involved.