Curious to know who's polluting your neighborhood?
That information just got a lot easier to find, thanks to MapEcos.org, a mashup based on Google Maps that shows the name, location, and type of pollutant emitted.
Our neighborhood is surprisingly clear... of course, the freeway a block away is not labeled as a polluter, but the goal of this map is not to penalize. Rather, it's to gently exert pressure on businesses to clean up their act... and to provide a way to reward those who do.
So: is it a perfect resource?
As the creators of the site note:
This is not a â€œtell allâ€ site. The information on this map shows that many companies and facilities have dramatically reduced their emissions, and many have reduced the toxicity of the chemicals they emit. Some have even eliminated toxic pollution altogether. The men and women who brought about these gains deserve our appreciation.
We like the idea, but a few key points of information are missing: what do the high and low points on the graphs represent? How much vinyl acetate is too much? The creators of the map are aware of these limitations, and it's a problem of information: not all of the chemicals on the map have been evaluated for toxicity, so there's no way to know how much is too much.
We're looking forward to a future where it just takes a click of the mouse to retrieve data about the environmental health of your home's surroundings... and to the education we'll all need to understand such information.