Thursday, June 28, 2007

Putting pollution on the (Google) map

Want to check on a pollution-generating site anywhere in North America? Now you can on Google Earth.

Government environmental agencies in the U.S., Canada and Mexico are providing the search engine company with toxic-inventory-styled data that is being added as a layer to Google's free mapping service.

The three nation Commission for Environmental Cooperation explains that the new mapping tool allows anyone with access to a computer--whether in Manitoba, Mississippi, or Michoacán—"to find industrial facilities located near their homes, their workplaces, or their schools."

When you click on a specific industrial site, the map also generates a profile of the facility, including which pollutants are generated there and how the facility handles them. Users can also compare the performance of facilities in their community to similar facilities elsewhere in North America.

To access the map, visit the CEC's website here

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