Environmental Racism: Pollution From Canada Wildfires Exacerbates Existing Air Quality Inequities
The recent wildfires in Canada are causing severe air pollution, which is further exacerbating existing air quality inequities and environmental racism in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The areas most affected by the wildfires are also home to significant concentrations of Black and brown communities. Studies have shown that these communities are already disproportionately exposed to elevated levels of poor air quality due to their living conditions, leading to serious health consequences such as asthma and other respiratory conditions. Environmental racism refers to the disproportionate impact of environmental hazards on people of color, resulting from both systemic policies and practices. While environmental racism is often associated with low-income individuals, middle-class Black Americans are also significantly affected. The location of landfills, power plants, and waste management facilities tends to be closer to middle-class Black neighborhoods compared to their white counterparts. Addressing environmental racism requires a comprehensive approach to ensure equitable access to clean air and environmental justice for all communities.