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      Perspectives on Past and Present Waste Disposal Practices: A Community-Based Participatory Research Project in Three Saskatchewan First Nations Communities


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          The impact of current and historical waste disposal practices on the environment and human health of Indigenous people in First Nations communities has yet to be adequately addressed. Solid waste disposal has been identified as a major environmental threat to First Nations Communities. A community-based participatory research project (CBPR) was initiated by the Saskatoon Tribal Council Health and Family Services Incorporated to investigate concerns related to waste disposal in three Saskatchewan First Nations Communities. Utilizing a qualitative approach, we aimed to gain an understanding of past and present waste disposal practices and to identify any human and environmental health concerns related to these practices. One to one interviews and sharing circles were conducted with Elders. Elders were asked to share their perspectives on past and present waste disposal practices and to comment on the possible impacts these practices may have on the environment and community health. Historically waste disposal practices were similar among communities. The homeowner generated small volumes of waste, was exclusively responsible for disposal and utilized a backyard pit. Overtime waste disposal evolved to weekly pick-up of un-segregated garbage with waste disposal and open trash burning in a community dump site. Dump site locations and open trash burning were identified as significant health issues related to waste disposal practices in these communities. This research raises issues of inequity in the management of waste in First Nations Communities. It highlights the need for long-term sustainable funding to support community-based waste disposal and management strategies and the development of First Nations centered and delivered educational programs to encourage the adoption and implementation of waste reduction, reutilization and recycling activities in these communities.

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          Most cited references46

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          Data analysis in qualitative research

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            Participatory research maximises community and lay involvement. North American Primary Care Research Group.

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              Dioxins: an overview.

              This review article summarizes what is known about human health following exposure to dioxins. It is meant primarily for health professionals but was also written with the general public in mind. The need for such an article became apparent to the authors following media inquiries at the time the then Ukraine presidential candidate Victor Yushchenko was deliberately poisoned with the most toxic dioxin, tetrachlorodibenzodioxin or TCDD.

                Author and article information

                Environ Health Insights
                Environmental Health Insights
                Environmental Health Insights
                Libertas Academica
                28 April 2011
                : 5
                : 9-20
                [1 ]College of Graduate Studies and Research
                [2 ]AMEC Saskatoon, Department of Biology, Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo, British Columbia
                [3 ]College of Nursing
                [4 ]School of Public Health
                [5 ]University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon Saskatchewan, S7N 5E5
                Author notes
                Corresponding author email: lalita.bharadwaj@ 123456usask.ca
                © the author(s), publisher and licensee Libertas Academica Ltd.

                This is an open access article. Unrestricted non-commercial use is permitted provided the original work is properly cited.

                Original Research

                Public health
                first nations,community-based participatory research,human and environmental health,waste disposal and management


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