Tackling inequality and protecting the vulnerable - Breathe Easy 2021
In 2021, we monitored 46 locations across Ottawa, with the aim of having a robust geo-spacial representation across the city. The air quality data collected by our 100+ volunteers was analyzed against socio-economic demographics within neighbourhoods, including population density and affluence. The analysis looks at the links between neighbourhood demographics and air quality, increasing the equity lens of our monitoring program.
The results of the data analysis was shocking and showed clearly that populations in lower income neighbourhoods tend to be those subject to elevated levels of contaminant concentrations and therefore elevated levels of environmental health risk. Air quality worsens with income in a more significant way than any other factor. This is a clear demonstration of environmental inequity within the city. We are calling on the City of Ottawa to ensure that municipal planning changes (in relation to truck routes, areas of industrialization, areas of environmental protection and policy on affordable housing) are made to help address environmental health inequities. The City of Ottawa must step up now to protect the most vulnerable populations in our neighbourhoods.