Mapping North American Environmental Issues


Map credit: Commission for Environmental Cooperation

The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) recently launched a new online mapping tool called the North American Environmental Atlas where North American environmental trends can be visualized at a continental scale. It's a useful offering from the little-known tri-lateral agency created in 1994 in conjunction with the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta).

The maps contain base layers of political boundaries, populated places, roads and railroads, coastlines, lakes and rivers, and other geographic features. The CEC has also added map layers for renewable energy capacity, priority conservation areas, and other environmental themes. The agency is now exploring ways to integrate these map layers with an industrial pollutant mapping tool, which you can download as a .kml file, recently released for use with Google Earth.The map (see image above) shows the locations of almost 34,000 industrial facilities in North America that reported on releases or transfers of pollutants in 2004. Data for this map was assembled from each of the North American country’s Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers (PRTRs): the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) in Canada, the Registro de Emisiones y Transferencias de Contaminantes (RETC) in Mexico, and the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) in the United States. :: CEC

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