Ontario's health-based air quality standard for benzene is set to become law on July 1, 2016. Yet Ontario's Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change is working to accommodate a request from two of the province's largest industrial benzene emitters -- the petroleum refining and petrochemical manufacturing industries.
Whether included in an existing law such as the Canadian Environmental Protection Act or by way of a new statute, national and enforceable air pollution standards would be a step towards a more equitable society, in which disadvantaged communities aren't left bearing more than their fair share of the national environmental health burden.
People living in industry-heavy areas of cities such as Hamilton, Sarnia, and Windsor bear an unfair burden when it comes to exposure to air contaminants. Many of these substances -- including benzene, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and particulate matter -- are known to pose serious threats to human health,
More than half the world's population is under 30, a demographic now at the forefront of international decision-making and some of Canada's most powerful environmental changes. Youth are thinking critically about how we can become better stewards of our landscapes and wildlife and protect the air, water, soil and diversity of nature that keep us healthy and alive.