Spatial Relationships Between Socio-Economic Status And Sources of Hazardous Air Pollution in the City of Toronto, Canada
thesisposted on 24.05.2021, 17:57 by Peter Bradford Shock
This research paper identifies and characterizes areas in the City of Toronto that may be impacted by facilities that emit air pollutants. The impacted areas were isolated using a combination of K-Means cluster analysis and kernel density estimation to determine whether disparity in socio-economic status can be correlated with the location of these facilities. Dissemination Area (DA) level data from the 2006 Canadian Census were evaluated against pollution data provided by Environment Canada’s 2006 National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) database. A total of 67 socio-economic variables from the 2006 Statistics Canada census were analysed. The City of Toronto’s 3,577 DAs were assigned to one of two cluster groups: Underprivileged Areas, or Areas of Affluence. The DAs represented by the two cluster groups were then analyzed alongside the NPRI pollution data, which had been developed into generalized concentration ranges using a 5km search radius. Although the Areas of Affluence cluster contains 15% more facilities (141) than the Underprivileged Areas (104), the latter are generally impacted by higher concentrations of a more diverse range of pollution. For example, a larger percent of Toronto residents living in Underprivileged Areas are exposed to the highest concentrations of total emissions, heavy metals, miscellaneous compounds, and non-carcinogenic emissions when compared to the population of DAs designated as Areas of Affluence. Conversely, a larger percent of residents living in Areas of Affluence are generally exposed to the highest concentrations of volatile organic compounds and carcinogenic emissions. The findings suggest an environmental justice concern, with respect to industrial air pollution within the City of Toronto.