Contextualizing a decade of air pollution and population vulnerability in Ecuador

Keywords: environmental justice, Global South, air pollution, environmental conflict

Abstract

Analyses of remote sensing data can help identify areas facing environmental challenges that put local populations at risk. However, these sometimes lack sufficient context in terms of the socioeconomic and political processes associated with environmental injustice. In this article, we present the findings of our qualitatively contextualized study of spatial air pollution patterns in Ecuador, using an online self-reporting tool that documents environmental injustice globally: The Environmental Justice Atlas. Our findings supported previous work on the polluting role of industries such as oil refining and mining, as well as the greater exposure of at-risk populations, such as Indigenous peoples, compared to other demographic groups. Our findings also suggested a lack of follow-up on the part of polluting industries in the repair of the social and ecological damage caused. Application of the Environmental Justice Atlas as a means to contextualize geospatial environmental findings can be used to perform rapid-environmental assessments that take into account local socioeconomic and political processes.

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Author Biographies

Mayra Rodríguez-González, Gund Institue for Environment, Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, University of Vermont

Mayra Rodríguez González is an Applied Urban Social Ecologist. Dr. Rodríguez partners with local agencies and organizations to improve natural resource partitioning from an equitable development and environmental justice perspective. She currently works at the University of Vermont's Gund Insitute for Environment (VT, USA) as a postdoctoral associate.

Kevin Torres-Garrido, Independent Researcher, former fellow of the Secretaría de Educación Superior, Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación, Ecuador

Kevin Torres Garrido is a former fellow of the Secretaría de Educación Superior, Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación of Ecuador. Torres, who obtained his bachelor's from Purdue University (IN, USA) in 2018, currently pursues research in geospatial technologies, remote sensing and anmanned aerial systems (UAS). His work aims to promote Ecuador as a leader in geospatial research.

Published
2022-06-01
Section
Original article