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OPINION: Diluting waste in Northumberland Strait not the answer for Northern Pulp effluent

The Northern Pulp mill is seen in Abercrombie Point in 2014, with the Town of Pictou in the background. FILE
The Northern Pulp mill is seen in Abercrombie Point in 2014, with the Town of Pictou in the background. FILE

Brenda Sterling-Goodwin

“The solution to pollution is dilution. It is very logical that if a chemical is bothering you, you should increase the flow of good air to dilute the level of the chemical” — quote from Dr. Sherry A. Rogers, author of Detox or Die, published in 2002.

This makes sense when talking about helping to remove toxic, unwanted materials from the body. There is also the removal of toxic materials that result from other various activities humans are involved in.

Where do these materials go? Into the environment: soil, water, air. Using this approach to dispose of unwanted materials is widespread. Dilution is one of the most common methods for dealing with many kinds of waste, across a wide range of industrial, agricultural and domestic sources.

In many cases, people were probably taught that it is OK to pour your waste materials down the sink (and let dilution take care of any nasty effects). However, despite its frequent promotion, dilution is probably not the solution. With the risks posed by pollution continuing to threaten our environment, we need to look to science to help us find better ways to deal with waste materials.

RELATED: LETTER: Study Northumberland Strait waters before pipe

The soils are full of pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers containing heavy metals and more. I do not think anything is 100 per cent organic; the pollution is everywhere, to some degree. The water in many areas has been found to contain radioactive material, as well as various drugs, chemicals and the list goes on. The air can contain life-threatening substances that affect humans and other life forms we share the planet with: animals and plant life.

There is always more than one way of doing something; we just have to find an answer.

A pipe in the Northumberland Strait is not the answer. It may be one of the less costly solutions for waste disposal at Northern Pulp, but one must think of the environmental consequences. The closure of Boat Harbour has been in the works for five years, yet it seems the company has come up with only one solution and it is unacceptable. Pouring toxic material into the water may not appear to be a problem in the beginning, but through time the pollution will accumulate and the Northumberland Strait will die; all that live in it will perish.

The environment and water are important for our survival. In many cases, those in power see only the dollars and do not look to future generations.

We are the caretakers of Mother Earth and must assure her survival for those who come after us. Think about it. Every time you toss trash, drop a cigarette butt or pour out something toxic, you add to the future destruction of creation.

It is important to live in peace and be respectful of all our surroundings.

Brenda Sterling-Goodwin lives in New Glasgow.

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