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The Columbia Journal
P.O. Box 2633 MPO,
Vancouver, British Columbia,
Canada V6B 3W8
Phone: 604-266-6552
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  • Volume Eight, Number Five: July 2003

    Lower Mainland Leads in Pollution

    While all Canadians are driving more, using more energy, pumping greater amounts of greenhouse gases into the environment, and dumping more garbage into landfills than ever before, BC appears to be doing a poorer job of protecting the environment than the rest of the country.

    Those are the findings of Environment Canada’s Environmental Signals Headline Indicators 2003. Furthermore, it says BC’s lower mainland is leading the nation in worsening pollution levels, with the highest increase in concentrations of hazardous PM2.5 (fine particulate matter) air pollutants of any major city in

    PM2.5 has actually decreased in Toronto and Edmonton, according to the report. Medical experts and health advocates say fine particulate matter in emissions, such as diesel exhaust, tends to lodge deeply in the lungs and have been related to cancers and other breathing ailments.

    The report also say while almost 78 per cent of Canadians outside of BC live in municipalities with secondary or tertiary sewage treatment, fully 80 per cent of British Columbians still have only primary sewage treatment. In
    Vancouver, more than 700 millions litres of nearly raw sewage and industrial effluent is dumped into local waters every day. Moreover, in BC five percent of people still have no form of sewage treatment.

    “This report shows we still have a long way to go to clean up our environment,” said SPEC coordinator Ivan Bulic. “Here in Southern British Columbia we appear to be actually going backward when it comes to air pollution and sewage treatment.”

    Environmental Signals also notes that greenhouse gas emissions across
    Canada have increased 20 percent since 1990 and that every Canadian now dumps 1000 kgs of solid waste every year. This is despite the federal government’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gases as part of its commitment to the Kyoto Accord.

    There is also an alarming upward trend in the number of toxic materials such as lead and cadmium that are finding there way into the environment.

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