First of all what is water pollution, water pollution is when a substantial portion of waste enters our water system. Water pollution is everywhere it has caused a lot of death and sickness around the world. In previous research done by the government of Canada, it said “Canada is a water rich nation-we are steward of 9% of the worlds renewable fresh water while Canadians enjoy one of the highest standards of clean water in the world, pollution remains an important problem in some of our waters”. The quality of Canadas freshwater and marine areas is effected by three important water pollution problems: toxic substance, excess nutrient, and sedimentation. These substance enter our water in a variety of ways including industrial sources, accidents, municipal wastewater effluents, and atmospheric deposition . Industrial sources such as mining, steel production, the generation of electricity and chemical production. Accidents such as oil or chemical spills and contamination sites such as Sydney tar ponds in Nova Scotia. Atmospheric deposition from Mexico, the united states, Europe and Asia, which is deposited in Canada through rain and snow: and agricultural run off. These are the major sources of water pollution here in Canada.
Contamination may enter the marine environment from many anthropogenic source, including industrial genic sources, including industrial discharges, spills, inputs from coastal and offshore oil and gas development municipal waste water discharges run off from agricultural and urban areas, ocean dumping, and long rage atmospheric transport. Six important types of contamination known to affect marine environmental quality in Canada are nutrients, Spill, PAHS heavy metals, synthetic chlorinated organic compounds, and persistent litter debris. A vast number of contaminants enter fresh water because of human activity. Many of these substances are capable of causing harm to the environment or human life, and therefore they are defined as toxic under the 1988 Canadian Environmental Protection Act . A toxic substance is persistent or non persistent in the environment depending on how long it takes to break down, but both are harmful to the aquatic environment.
Some of the contaminants are Dioxins ,furans, PCBs , Pesticide and Heavy metals. Dioxins and Furans – Popular names for two classes of chlorinated organic compound, known as polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs) there formed by products during some type of chemical production that involve chlorine and high temperatures or during combustion where a source of chlorine is present. Pesticide-substance, usually chemicals, used to kill unwanted plants and animals includes, herbicide, insecticide, algaecides and fungicide. Heavy Metals-Metallic elements with relatively high atomic weights, such as lead, cadmium, and mercury. Generally toxic to plant and animal life in even relatively low concentrations. These chemicals enter our waters by accident , dumping and being very careless. It might not affect as today but it will eventually catch on. Like for example between 1968 and 1972, the dumping of used waste oils, mainly from the chemical and petrochemical industries polluted the ground water between the towns of Mercier and Ste-Martine, Quebec.
Wells were contaminated. Unbeknown to them, residents were exposed to health risks and after a $10 million expenditure , the water in 1986 was still undrinkable(science council of Canada 1988) There are several ways on preventing and reducing this type of accidents , including setting up organization to tackle the problem before it becomes worst like for example the green peas, the Green Peas is an organization that trys to reduce and prevent water pollution and other types of pollution we might face today. The government of Canada mentioned “That across the country, Canadians have initiated large scale remedial programs to reduce the impact of the city on adjacent water bodies. The lower Fraser River, for example, flows through the most heavily urbanized and industrialized area in British Columbia and the third largest urban region in Canada. The rivers estuary is contaminated not only by the regions sewage, industrial effluents, and runoff, but also by atmospheric and marine pollutants.” The extensive contamination of the great lakes system has led the great lakes water quality board of the international joint commission to designate no fewer than 43 “areas of concern” 12 of which are wholly within Ontario.
This list includes both Hamilton Harbor and the Toronto water front. Toronto area, water pollution control(sewage treatment) plants, sewers contaminated sediments and the atmosphere are all important sources of pollution. The Metro Toronto Remedial Action Plan, one of 17 under way in Ontario, has initiated program to alleviate specific local problems. Hamilton Harbour, or Burlington Bay, receives the industrial and municipal wastes and the urban and rural runoff from a watershed many times larger than the Harbour itself. Thus, its remedial action plan must bring together not only the many agencies with relevant responsibilities but also stakeholder groups. The remedial action plan must consider existing threats to the many uses of Hamilton harbour and the adjacent conservation and recreation area of Cootes paradise.
To avoid extensive pollution of the St. Lawrence River, the St. Lawrence action plan aims to eliminate 90% of the total toxic liquid effluent at 50 sites. Many of the sites are located in and around urban areas, notably Montreal. In the federal site clean up contaminant levels in sediment are being studied in Montreal, Trois-Rivieres, and Quebec city harbours. Despite these large-scale initiatives, the task confronting Canadians is very long term. Cities and urban regions form critical points of concentration in the water cycle, in which extravagantly large volumes of water are dawn off, treated to make them reasonably safe for human use, and then fed back into the cycle in even worse condition ideally, water should leave the city with its quality unimpaired. Reducing the discharge of industrial toxic waste from all source of industrial toxic waste from all sources requires concerted and cooperative effort by all levels of government and by industry.
The St. Lawrence action plan is a step in this direction. The federal and Quebec government have identified 50 industrial establishments on the St. Lawrence and have agreed on a target of 90% reduction of liquid toxic waste released from these plants by 1993. Twenty of these industries are now controlled through regulations. Other priority industries not currently subject to regulation are establishing cleanup plans designed to meet the 90% reduction target. As of May 1991, 22 of the 30 unregulated industries had signed official cleanup agreement with the Quebec Ministry of environment. A program in Ontario, the Municipal Industrial strategy for Abatement (MISA), has been initiated to reduce water pollution from industries and municipalities.
The MISA program currently involves the municipalities and nine major industrial sectors. Monitoring regulations now in place for the nine industrial sectors require discharges to measure the types, concentrations, and total amounts of toxic substance present in their effluents. This information will be used in the future to formulate abatement regulations. The government is trying to stop water and other type of pollution by providing restrictions and laws so if they catch a company braking the rules, that they will be sure that the company will be held responsible for its action. That procedure will help to reduce and hopefully prevent any type of pollution . The CEPA will make pollution prevention a national goal through improved enforcement, as well as actions on controlling toxic, pollutants and other wastes. The freshwater strategy is founded on the need to work cooperatively with provinces and municipalities in order to better integrate the environment, economic and social dimensions of freshwater management.
Canada has significantly reduced the flow of pollution into its waters. But the future continues to hold tremendous challenges as environmental issues become larger and more complex. Global demands for pesticide, manufactured chemical goods and products are rising. The number of substance known or strongly suspected to be toxic continue to grow. The challenges for Canada is to continue to build international cooperation, in particular, on heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants. Domestically, we must continue to build and encourage partnerships with communities, industry and provincial and territorial governments. The government of Canada mentioned “To be successful, we must recognize the value of water and focus on pollution prevention. Canada businesses will play a key role in the development of new environmental technologies that protect our citizens and our renewable resources”.