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Residents claim presence of semi trucks “causes cancer, COPD, asthma, and heart failure” 

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Residents of a Chicago neighborhood say that semi truck traffic on their streets is causing serious health issues and are working to have the trucks redirected. 

Baltazar Enriquez and Liliana Medina are a part of the Little Village Community Council, and started knocking on doors looking for signatures on Thursday, June 22nd. The pair was looking to spread the word about their “Fighting for our Lungs” campaign. 

“Our campaign is for one, to stop semi-trailers driving down 26th Street – similar to Milwaukee Avenue. And we can see the environmental racism, because they don’t allow it on Milwaukee Avenue, but they allow the semi-trailers to travel down 26th Street,” Enriquez said. “So we’ve been asking for equal treatment.”

The activists say that the rigs leave behind diesel, smog, and other hazardous material, which affects the health of people who live along the route. 

“It causes cancer, COPD, asthma, and heart failure,” said Medina.

So far, 100 signatures have been gathered, and the activists are looking to file a class-action lawsuit against the City of Chicago for the traffic. 

“Because they did not protect our lungs like they’re protecting the people on the North Side,” said Enriquez.

Alderperson Michael Rodriguez says that his office has attempted to address the problems before, but worries that redirecting the truck traffic could negatively affect businesses in the area. 

“If you restrict truck traffic on one block, where does that truck traffic go? Does it create truck traffic on another block?” Rodriguez said. “That’s why we need to have a comprehensive plan in the neighborhood.”

Several community meetings are scheduled to address the topic of truck traffic. Anyone who believes their health has been affected by the traffic is asked to attend.

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