Sample Term Paper on Environmental Hazards in Far Rockaway Community

Far Rockaway is a New York City community that is physically and socioeconomically susceptible to tragedies (Anderson et al., (n.d), par. 7). The community was affected by the storm when the Hurricane Sandy hit the United States eastern coastline in October 2012. In the early 20th Century, the community was a summer destination for New Yorkers. However, it has become a mixed income, distant residential New York neighborhood with overcrowded public housing. It has become an ethnically and racially varied community with many African Americans (Anderson et al., (n.d), par.6).

The poverty level in some areas of the community is above 50% and the community also experiences economic problems (Rockaways Community Planning and Envisioning Final Report, 2014, p. 4). Very few people own cars and houses and the population density is high. Low-income individuals are not resistant to shock and therefore highly affected by natural calamities. Lack of resources like cars and insurance, insufficient healthcare, and financial wherewithal makes it difficult for poor residents to recuperate from emergency disasters in comparison to their rich counterparts. The lack of strong and sustainable means of transportation makes the community susceptible. It access to jobs, educational institutions, food, and other important resources, which make individuals to feel isolated. Therefore, evacuation and access to emergency services, fear, and panic are critical issues in extreme conditions (Rockaways Community Planning and Envisioning Final Report, 2014, p. 10)

The community has a beach and five New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) public accommodation developments (Rockaways Community Planning and Envisioning Final Report, 2014, p. 8). It also has several modes of public transport that include the subway system and Long Island Railroad.The geographic location of the peninsula and the socio-economic characteristics of Far Rockaway make the community susceptible to the effects of hurricanes and tropical storms. The Hurricane Sandy led to extensive destruction in Far Rockaway due to storm surge and coastal flooding. The lives of the local residents were interrupted by physical destructionof their homes and environment, power outage, and a longpost-storm recovery. The community is characterized by major flooding during Hurricane Sandy, high social susceptibility of local residents, and sparse social media activity among the inhabitants (Anderson et al., (n.d), par. 7). The potential environmental hazards in the community include the following:

Extreme Weather Events

The community is at risk of extreme weather events because of its low-lying elevation and many natural and uncovered edges lining in the Planning Area perimeter. Extreme whether disasters can be reduced by executing environmentally friendly activities, such as foregoing use of plastic bags (Anderson et al., (n,d).

Regular Flooding From Coastal Events

A large part of the land area is situated at or just above sea level, which makes areas along the shorelines susceptible to flooding even during the usual high tides. Regular flooding occasions are inconvenient and result in health and safety dangers because of the standing, still water in summer and huge swaths of ice in winter. They also lead to physical harm, which is costly to restore and reduces land values. The floods cause financial, physical, and psychological problems to inhabitants (Rockaways Community Planning and Envisioning Final Report, 2014, p.14). Floods can be prevented by building structures above flood levels and safeguarding wetlands and initiating plant trees tactically.


Far Rockaway community is a lowlandwith a large part of the community lying at depths that would be swamped, according to the New York City panel on climate change’s (NPCC) approximation of 11 to 13 inches sea level rise by 2015. The community is susceptible to ponding and still water because the inner streets are at a lower altitude than the brink. Therefore, water is stuck and can harvest for a long time. This condition is experienced when the storm sewer system is subjugated, for example, during a heavy rain event (Rockaways Community Planning and Envisioning Final Report, 2014, p. 11). This hazard can be prevented by putting emphasis on physical structure improvement, such as roads and sewers including prevention strategies for future storms and catastrophes.

Rising Sea Levels

Intensifying sea levels, high storm surge and coastal flooding are the closest risks in New York City, particularly Far Rockaway community. Some areas are situated within the present 500-year flood hazard regions and other could be within the 100-year flood zone possibly as early as 2020s (Downtown Far Rockaway Redevelopment Project, 2016, p. 8). This problem can be prevented by burning less fossil fuels. Reduction of emissions of contaminants like methane averts rises in sea levels.

Air Quality and Health Polluters

The Far Rockaway region was rated among the worst counties in the United States in 1966 based on increased threats of cancer from hazardous pollutants and non-cancer risk from hazardous air pollutants, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxide emissions. Parts of Rockaway community that are close to major roads, factories, and airport have been proved having high incidences of asthma. For example, JKF airport is below three quarters miles away, across the bay, which puts the community at risk.

Poor air quality has a great effect on human health. Additionally, numerous previous researches show that the danger of untimely death rises with high ozone levels. Particulate pollution may as well decrease a person’s life expectancy and lead to lasting respiratory problems, and initiate heart and asthma attacks (Greening Far Rockaway, 2008, p. 12).

To prevent this problem, individuals should be encouraged to plant trees. Gaseous contaminants, such as sulfur oxides are absorbed through tree leaves, stem, and bark. This form of filtering leads to a positive impact on air quality (Greening Far Rockaway, 2008, p. 5).



Anderson, J., Kogan, M., Bica, M., Palen, L., Anderson, K., Stowe, K., & Henderson, J. (n.d). Far Far Away in Far Rockaway: Responses to Risks and Impacts during Hurricane Sandy through First-Person Social Media Narratives.

Downtown Far Rockaway Redevelopment project. (2016). Environmental Assessment Statement. Retrieved from:

Greening Far Rockaway. (2008). A Community Forestry Management Plan. Retrieved from:

Rockaways Community Planning and Envisioning Final Report. (2014). Ocean Bay Community Development Corporation Asian Americans For Equality Local Initiatives Support Corporation NYC Hester Street Collaborative. Retrieved from: