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Environment

Halifax and Nova Scotia invest more to achieve good environmental outcomes than many cities in Canada – and it shows.

WATER QUALITY AND AVERAGE USAGE

Nova Scotia’s water quality is second highest among benchmark provinces, and like most provinces, it has improved in recent years. Waterproof 3: Canada’s Drinking Water Report Card states that Nova Scotia has “protected a large percentage of water sources that concomitantly protect the vast majority of the population.” It also lauds Nova Scotia’s regulations regarding water treatment, standards, and testing.  Furthermore, Nova Scotia is one of six provinces and territories to have statutory schemes and plans to protect source water, and Halifax has municipal bylaws in place protecting several water supply areas. 

Use of water in Halifax has decreased by nearly 9L per capita since 2004 and ranks as the third lowest usage among benchmark cities. Residential water use, which accounts for 65% of all water use in the municipality, decreased by 2% in that time frame. While this is positive, decreases in several other benchmark cities during this timeframe were higher and furthered the gap between lower users and Halifax. 

Unfortunately, many data series on water at the municipal level have been terminated by federal government departments. As such, continued and updated data in this area may be limited going forward. 

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WASTE DIVERSION AND TONNES OF WATER PER CAPITA, HALIFAX
Source: HRM - Transportation and Public Works

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Source: Environment Canada






























AIR QUALITY 

Air quality in Halifax continues to be among the best in its benchmark cities. Ground-level ozone levels, a major contributor to urban smog and a health irritant, rank lowest among benchmark cities again in 2011. Fine particulate-matter levels, remnants from fuel burned that can cause a variety of serious health problems, are among the lowest in the benchmark cities.

WASTE DISPOSAL AND DIVERSION

Year-over-year- residential waste levels per capita dropped in Halifax in 2011-12 by 0.004 tonnes (8.8 pounds). Commercial waste increased slightly by 0.008 tonnes in 2011-12. Over the longer term, both commercial and residential waste levels have dropped since 2007-08 and remain well below national averages. Diversion rates from landfills remained steady in 2011-12, with over 61% of solid waste material diverted from the residual waste system. This proportionally is one of the highest municipal rates in Canada.

In addition to the environmental impacts, waste diversion has fiscal sustainability impacts – particularly recycling. In 2011-12, composting ($6.62 per tonne), waste disposal ($3.12 per tonne), and recycling ($1.48 per tonne) increased; however, looking longer term, recycling costs have declined since 2007-08 while composting and waste disposal increased significantly. 

Creating sustainable economic growth is important – and ensuring both cost-effectiveness and achievement of environmental goals is key to creating truly sustainable progress.

 
 
 




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