Case Studies On The Environmental Justice

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Shelburne town has been a home to a landfill which operated from 1949 to 1990 in the south end of town in a predominantly black and poor community; where residential, medical and industrial waste was burnt at the dump over the years. With private, modern, and some of the time restorative waste from all through eastern Shelburne Area consumed at the landfill throughout the years. Its residents levelled their charges of its municipal government due to the location of landfill. This negatively affected the health of community living there. The property value decreased due to the proximity of town dump.

Due to dumping of waste in that area cancer widely spread which eventually caused in the acceleration of death rate. Many of the families died of because of cancer which was caused by the fire set in the dump-yard. The majority of the black men in the community have died from cancer in that area. People called that community “Community of widows” in Shelburne.

The water in that area was contaminated because of the medical, residential and industrial waste was dumped there. Delisle (2019) reported that

A lot of people had dry wells and still are in hard shape. We did some water testing and the tests did not come back very good. There are still people in the community who cannot drink their water. There are people in the community who cannot even wash their vegetables or shower in their water. It is a very dire strait when do not have water, and when you think about where we live, we should have good clean water at all times .

SEED also feels that the landfill is a contributing element to the high rates of malignancy and medical problems are occurring among the general population who lived near it.

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In Mi kmaw and African Nova Scotian communities, various projects were launched to address the issue and to improve the health and socio‑economic effects of environmental racism. For example, as reported by Mfoumou (2018), water testing and evaluation of the points of interest of the outcomes and address the attainability of utilizing ultra-filtration innovation is underway, to improve drinking water difficulties in a cost‑effective way.

It is reported that this ‘water testing’ will exceedingly be a shared work that will incorporate making new associations, obtaining new assets, illuminating new points of view, executing new practices, furthermore, bring the network and research group together so as to examine the social and efficient difficulties.

To strengthen the initiatives and to ensure their sustainability, in 2015, ENRICH Enhancing Nutrition Services to Improve Maternal and Child Health) project collaborated with MLA Lenore Zann to develop the first private members bill to address environmental racism in Canada and was passed with support of another private member. It is an Act to Redress Environmental Racism in Nova Scotia, calls for the establishment of a panel to explore environmental racism in the province and provide recommendations to address issues that communities are becoming more vocal about such as health concerns and the lowering of property values in communities where there is an environmental racism aspect of some kind.

Attempts to advance environmental justice concepts are still at very preliminary stages in decision-making in Canada. Despite the inclusion of cumulative impacts in the Ontario Ministry of the Environment’s Statement of Environmental Values, there is still no toolkit or guide to cumulative impact decision making and the additional burden on low income, Aboriginal, racialized and other vulnerable specific communities has not been recognized as an important factor in environmental decision – making. Like the United States. The Environmental Protection Act addresses its rule making, lessons on the effectiveness of this approach should be learned for Canada and elsewhere, and this should be the subject of further investigation.

Most environmental health and equity concerns have key elements which need attention by each of the jurisdictions. For example, in the case of reducing exposure to toxic substances:

  • Municipalities may pass right to know by-laws (as was done in Toronto)
  • Provinces may pass a Toxic Reduction Act (as was done in Ontario)
  • Canada may pursue regulation of toxic substances as under CEPA
  • The international community may control some toxic or hazardous substances under treaties like Stockholm or Basel

To overcome this issue for future new policies or laws such as “No dump-yard should be near or within the area where people are living no what colour, cast, religion, they belong to”. While the need to take environmental justice concepts into account in environmental decision-making is recognized in the United States there are generally no comparable policy requirements in Canada.  

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