Exploring environmental inequity in South Korea: An analysis of the distribution of toxic release inventory (TRI) facilities and toxic releases

D. K. Yoon, Jung Eun Kang, Juhyeon Park

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Recently, location data regarding the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) in South Korea was released to the public. This study investigated the spatial patterns of TRIs and releases of toxic substances in all 230 local governments in South Korea to determine whether spatial clusters relevant to the siting of noxious facilities occur. In addition, we employed spatial regression modeling to determine whether the number of TRI facilities and the volume of toxic releases in a given community were correlated with the community's socioeconomic, racial, political, and land use characteristics. We found that the TRI facilities and their toxic releases were disproportionately distributed with clustered spatial patterning. Spatial regression modeling indicated that jurisdictions with smaller percentages of minorities, stronger political activity, less industrial land use, and more commercial land use had smaller numbers of toxic releases, as well as smaller numbers of TRI facilities. However, the economic status of the community did not affect the siting of hazardous facilities. These results indicate that the siting of TRI facilities in Korea is more affected by sociopolitical factors than by economic status. Racial issues are thus crucial for consideration in environmental justice as the population of Korea becomes more racially and ethnically diverse.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1886
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Oct 21

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments: This research was supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education (2015R1D1A1A01059239).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 by the authors.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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