The student news site of California State University - Los Angeles

University Times

The student news site of California State University - Los Angeles

University Times

The student news site of California State University - Los Angeles

University Times

La Puente struggles with air pollution, social-emotional issues that impair academic success

Aspiring young politician tackles issues to improve community.
Berenice De Anda
Berenice De Anda is a first-generation college student, and La Puente native. She is majoring in political science at UC Riverside. Her goal is to be a member of Congress in the future.

Berenice De Anda, raised in La Puente, said the city was a wonderful place to grow up and her education there gave her the foundation she needed to thrive at University of California, Riverside, where she is now the student government representative who meets with members of Congress to advocate on issues affecting students.

But her heart is still in La Puente, which grapples with several public issues that she said should be addressed.

De Anda, a first-generation college student and political science major, who would someday like to run for office, described to UT Community News key public issues affecting La Puente residents.

You’re currently working with the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District, where you work with middle school students. Why did you choose to work in this field?

“I worked with kids prior to high school. Since I’m minoring in education, I wanted to work with kids. I realized that they need more help on personal issues than academics…At the end of the day, those students won’t be able to do well in the classroom if those issues are not getting resolved.”

You created a research project for a fellowship at USC based on the air pollution in La Puente (LP). Can you please describe that project?

It was a month-long program and we learned about environmental justice, environmental racism, water contamination, air pollution and micro plastics. LP is next to [the] City of Industry, where there are a lot of warehouses and trucks passing by, which affects LP,” De Anda said. “The air was more polluted when I was heading towards [the] City of Industry rather than being further away from the city.”

What changes do you think the LP community can do to minimize the air pollution?

“I would say implementing local laws and making sure that warehouses coming into La Puente are following environmental regulations,” De Anda said. “Although, it is difficult because we do live next to [the] City of Industry and it’s coming more from that area. We’re not [as aware] of that city and don’t have control over it.”


Considering the number of factories and warehouses in our area, do you believe that we can have less air pollution?

It depends because there are so many things that contribute to air pollution. If we had fewer factories, I do think our air pollution wouldn’t be as harmful, but it can also come from traffic pollution.”

Do you believe our LP council will make any changes to help with environmental and other issues?

“If it’s the current council now, no. I think they’re more interested in themselves.”

Why do you want to give back to your community and eventually run for office?

“I’ve been told that I am very passionate and fierce. I would stand up for people if they were getting picked on even though I [don’t] know them. If you don’t give back to your community, how do you expect others that are in the shoes you were once in, to grow? La Puente is such a vibrant place. It shouldn’t be overlooked because there is so much potential within the community.”


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