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Mapping environmental racism in Nova Scotia

A new interactive map aims to show that pollution disproportionately affects communities of African Nova Scotians and aboriginals

  • Mar 16, 2016
  • 352 words
  • 2 minutes
A screenshot from ENRICH Nova Scotia's Toxic Facility Mapping Project, which aims to show that pollution disproportionately affects communities of African Nova Scotians and aboriginals.
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A Nova Scotia human rights group is using mapping and GIS to show the extent of environmental racism in the province.

The ENRICH Project was founded in 2012 to address the health and socio-economic impacts of environmental racism, which it defines as the disproportionate proximity of sources of industrial pollution to “communities of colour and the working poor.”

To visualize environmental racism in the province, ENRICH (Environmental Noxiousness Racial Inequities and Community Health) plotted the locations of industrial polluters such as landfills, coal plants and toxic waste facilities on a map of Nova Scotia. According to ENRICH’s Lynn Jones, the map shows industrial pollution disproportionately affects African Nova Scotian and Aboriginal communities.

The map is fully interactive, allowing users to zoom in on communities to see exactly how they are affected by nearby sources of pollution. The map is part of the group’s efforts to get Bill 111, an Act to Address Environmental Racism, passed as law.

The private members bill, which “proposes a province-wide public consultation with priority placed on Mi’kmaw, African Nova Scotian, and Acadian communities affected by environmental racism,” was introduced in 2015 and has passed first reading.

Jones, who has been working with ENRICH since 2012, told the CBC her hope is that presenting environmental racism in a format that’s easy to understand will encourage more people to talk about it.

“Everything becomes connected,” Jones says. “The map is not in isolation of the research we’re doing, or the environmental bill we want to get passed.” 

Today ENRICH also published an Africville Story Map, a fascinating multimedia look at the history and evolution of one of Nova Scotia’s most storied neighbourhoods.

Explore the toxic facility map below:


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