Health linked to Ecosystem
"The notion that discharging wastes into a place where humans do not currently reside somehow means these wastes are irrelevant to human health is rooted in outdated 19th century thinking. Now we know that all discharges of all substances disperse, accumulate, and recirculate in the global ecosystem." Dr. W. Bell
- Municipal sewage contains up to 70,000 manmade chemicals many of them are toxic. These toxins are not removed through the minimal sewage treatment many B.C. municipalities employ.
- Metro Vancouver’s largest outfall has only primary treatment - settling ponds remove most solids, but the remaining toxic brew goes directly into Georgia Strait.
- Greater Victoria dumps its sewage raw and untreated into the ocean as do three other coastal municipalities: Tofino, Masset and Prince Rupert.
- Sewage dumped in rivers or in the ocean uses up oxygen as it decomposes, suffocating fish at high discharge levels. Deformed oyster and clam shells regularly wash up on beaches near sewage outfalls.
- Sub-lethal impacts, such as tumours found on bottom fish near outfalls, are hardest to detect but just as deadly over the long term.
- There is increasing evidence that hormones are disrupted by toxins in sewage, affecting juvenile salmon as they acclimatize to salt water. Immune systems are compromised and reproductive systems can be damaged.
- Greater Victoria is still the largest single raw sewage source in B.C. But public sentiment has changed drastically in favour of proper sewage treatment due in part to a successful campaign by TBSEF and Georgia Strait Alliance.
TBSEF supports alternatives to conventional treatment systems that focus on attaining value by recycling the resources in the waste streams.
- More and more studies are linking chemical pesticide usage to health related problems like rising cancer and asthma rates, and at the same time leading bio-scientists are questioning the need for the usage.
- Chemical pesticides came into widespread usage after the Second World War when chemical sciences were further advanced that our biological science.
- Today bio-sciences have caught up; it is very clear that chemicals cannot replace natural bio-processes. Chemicals often prevent synergistic interactions between species that are need for healthy growth, and optimum production.
Check PesticideFreeCRD.org for more information.
TBSEF supports an outright ban on pesticides to protect our food chain.
Plastics in the Marine Environment
- 50% or more of marine litter is in some form of plastic. Examples include: raw plastic pellets, plastic bags and sheeting, monofilament fishing nets and multi-pack soda can holders
- Plastics are the most common man-made object sighted at sea. During a 1998 survey, 89% of the trash observed floating in the North Pacific Ocean was plastic
- The raw form of plastics, called resin pellets, constitute a large part of marine debris that go relatively unnoticed by humans, but unfortunately they look like food to many marine species.
- Plastic sheeting has been documented in the stomachs of sperm whales, round-toothed dolphins and a Curvier beaked whale.
- Many sea turtles frequently swallow plastic bags when they mistake them for jelly fish, which is one of their favorite foods.
- Many common plastic objects such as bottles, sheeting and Styrofoam cups were found on remote Arctic beaches of the southern Beaufort Sea
TBSEF supports a complete ban on plastic shopping bags and a plastic eco-tax to support 100% recycling for all other plastics.
- Metro Vancouver has 6 wood product plants, 2 oil refineries, about 100 food processing plants, almost 50 metal and surface finishing plants and 13 chemical companies discharging wastewater with chemicals toxic to fish into the sewage system.
- Some older pulp mills discharge toxic organochlorine compounds that can cause immune system damage, liver disfunction, impaired reproduction, birth defects and cancer.
- A target for zero discharge of pulp mill organochlorines by 2002 has now been axed by the provincial government. Waste discharge regulations do not take into account the cumulative impact of the hundreds of toxic waste outfalls flowing directly into the Fraser River, the most important salmon river in Canada.