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environmental justice, Australia, quantitative, industrial air pollution

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This study presents the first national level quantitative environmental justice assessment of industrial air pollution in Australia. Specifically, our analysis links the spatial distribution of sites and emissions associated with industrial pollution sources derived from the National Pollution Inventory, to Indigenous status and social disadvantage characteristics of communities derived from Australian Bureau of Statistics indicators. Our results reveal a clear national pattern of environmental injustice based on the locations of industrial pollution sources, as well as volume, and toxicity of air pollution released at these locations. Communities with the highest number of polluting sites, emission volume, and toxicity-weighted air emissions indicate significantly greater proportions of Indigenous population and higher levels of socio-economic disadvantage. The quantities and toxicities of industrial air pollution are particularly higher in communities with the lowest levels of educational attainment and occupational status. These findings emphasize the need for more detailed analysis in specific regions and communities where socially disadvantaged groups are disproportionately impacted by industrial air pollution. Our empirical findings also underscore the growing necessity to incorporate environmental justice considerations in environmental planning and policy-making in Australia.

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Environmental Research Letters, v. 9, art. 044010