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who dumped mercury in grassy narrows

Republication or distribution of this content is The people of Grassy Narrows deserve justice – they deserve clean land and water and for these illegally dumped contaminants to be fully removed and the area restored. “We don’t need any more. The environment ministry said the elimination is part of the government’s “environmental assessment modernization efforts.”. Water bottles are seen at the local water supply site on the Grassy Narrows First Nation, in northwestern Ontario, Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019. 1962: Dryden Chemical, relying on a mercury-based process to produce bleaching agents for the paper mill nearby, begins dumping untreated mercury waste into the Wabigoon River. In recent years, Toronto Star investigations and scientists have shown that fish near Grassy Narrows remain the most contaminated in the province; that there is mercury-contaminated soil and river sediment at or near the site of the old mill; and the provincial government knew in the 1990s that mercury was visible in soil under that site and never told anyone in Grassy Narrows or nearby Wabaseemoong (Whitedog) Independent Nations. Residents of Grassy Narrows First Nation, about 100 kilometres northeast of Kenora, Ont., have grappled with long-standing mental and physical health issues due to toxic mercury levels in the nearby English-Wabigoon River. Will you take a moment of your time to write to the Ontario government and demand that it fulfill the commitment to remediate this site? The federal government has agreed to fund a $19.5-million mercury care home for Grassy Narrows First Nation, more than two years after Ottawa first promised the facility. The Environmental Assessment Act, passed by the Bill Davis Progressive Conservative government in the 1970s, looks at the environment from a broad perspective, including the impact on human health, society and culture, he said. Grassy Narrows’ legacy of mercury poisoning began in 1962, when the paper plant in Dryden, then owned by Reed Paper, began to dump mercury into … The Environmental Assessment Act previously allowed for hearings into those logging plans if there were concerns about health issues or infringement of Indigenous rights, Castrilli said. Recent soil samples from the property show unnaturally high levels of mercury, indicating that the barrels may have rusted away and released their toxic contents. Between 1962 and 1970, the company dumped an estimated 9,000 kg of untreated mercury into the English-Wabigoon river system, upstream from Grassy Narrows and Whitedog First Nations. The mercury … “If you clear-cut an area with watershed, you are going to end up with mercury in the water system,” Castrilli said. It’s now on the verge of disappearing, Mercury levels higher in Grassy Narrows residents who died young, new study finds, The Toronto Star and thestar.com, each property of Toronto Star The airborne emissions of mercury continued unabated until the company stopped using mercury cells in its chloralkali process in October 1975; the company closed down in 1976. Ninety per cent of our people are suffering from mercury poisoning. “We are not happy about this,” said Fobister, a member of the land protection team that blocks logging on Grassy Narrows territory in the Whiskey Jack Forest. Glowacki was working at the Dryden, ON pulp and paper mill that dumped 9 tonnes of mercury into the English-Wabigoon river system in the 1960s. When Glowacki’s letter came to light this summer, Grassy Narrows residents were shocked that the province had not taken immediate action to investigate the dump site. The Grassy Narrows … Hundreds of residents have suffered chronic health problems related to mercury exposure since the 1960s, when a chemical plant at the Reed Paper mill in Dryden, Ont., dumped 9,000 kilograms of mercury into the river community members rely on for fishing. CBC video journalist Peter Wall returns to Grassy Narrows, 40 years after the community was poisoned with Mercury. 1969-70: High levels of mercury are discovered in the water and fish downriver from the plant. Dryden Chemical had dumped more than 20,000 pounds of mercury into the Wabigoon. Decades of promises, but little action as mercury still takes lives in Grassy Narrows Apr 03, 2019 It’s been half a century since a pulp and paper mill in Dryden, Ont. A First Nation of about 650 people near Ontario’s border with Manitoba, Grassy Narrows’ water was contaminated by tonnes of mercury dumped into its water system by an upstream paper mill. In the 1960s, the Dryden Chemical Company used mercury in a process to create the materials needed to bleach paper at a paper mill along the English-Wabigoon River, just 320 kilometers upstream from Grassy Narrows. The federal government has paid more than $9 million for compensation to the First Nations affected by the mercury contamination. The current plan for the Whiskey Jack Forest, home to Grassy Narrows, ends in 2022. Indigenous communities in Ontario’s north fear another round of mercury poisoning after the provincial government eliminated environmental assessments for commercial clear-cutting on Crown forest land. The mercury contaminated the fish and poisoned the people who ate the fish. Grassy Narrows is asking the federal and provincial governments for compensation for the ongoing mercury crisis, to increase social program funding in the community, and to establish a local mercury survivors home and care centre without further delay. In the 1960s and early 1970s, a chemical plant dumped around 10 tons of toxic mercury into a river upstream from Asubpeeschoseewagong Netum Anishinabek (also known as “Grassy Narrows … Star Newspapers Limited and/or its licensors. All The emergence of mercury poisoning symptoms among huge numbers of residents. Studies have shown that clear-cut logging, which is the practice in the crown Boreal forest lands that surround the Grassy Narrows traditional territory, releases mercury that had previously settled in the soil after blowing north, often from industries in the United States. Forestry companies’ logging plans are approved by the Ministry of Natural Resources and renewed every 10 years as part of a management plan. Forty years after Dryden Chemical Company dumped 20,000 pounds of mercury into the Wabigoon River, with the Ontario government’s expressed consent, the people of Grassy Narrows continue to suffer the effects of mercury poisoning. Dryden is located about 130 km upstream from Grassy Narrows. In the 1960s and early 1970s, the Reed Paper plant dumped 10 tonnes of mercury waste into the adjacent Wabigoon River upstream from Grassy Narrows. “We’ve suffered from the environmental contamination of mercury already,” Fobister said. A nearby paper mill dumped the neurotoxin into the nearby Wabigoon River in the 1960s, contaminating the fish there and poisoning the people from Asubpeeschoseewagong Netum Anishinabek (Grassy Narrows First Nation… The company was finally ordered to stop dumping mercury in the river by the Ontario government in 1970, although the ordinance only contained water effluents and not air emissions. About usTake ActionCampaignsAnalysisUpdatesContact Us, Donate nowRenew your supportOther ways to give, The Council of Canadians 200-240 Bank Street, Ottawa, ON K2P 1X4, Tel. View more about Dianne Saxe. Decades of mercury poisoning among Grassy Narrows residents illustrate the connection between industry, the environment and human health. The plant used mercury to manufacture chlorine, which was in turn used to bleach paper at the Dryden Paper Company Ltd. A retired plant worker blew the whistle on this, saying he was ordered to haphazardly bury dozens of barrels of mercury waste in the 1970s. The tipster alleged that decades ago mercury was dumped in barrels and buried in a plastic-lined pit. This copy is for your personal non-commercial use only. The Dryden paper mill, now owned by Domtar, dumped tons of mercury into the English-Wabigoon River during the 1960s. Fifty years ago last month, in March 1962, Dryden Chemicals began dumping an estimated 10 metric tonnes of mercury into the Wabigoon River, contaminating the fish which formed the subsistence and economy of three Indigenous communities Asubpeeschoseewagong (Grassy Narrows), Wabaseemoong (White Dog), and some members of … “For us, for me, as a mother and grandmother, I feel it’s a betrayal to my people, the … GRASSY NARROWS — Recent reports have raised alarm over the impact of mercury poisoning on those who eat fish from the lakes and rivers surrounding Asubpeeschoseewagong Netum Anishinabek (Grassy Narrows First Nation), located 80 kilometres north of Kenora — but despite the risks, many residents continue to eat the fish: there are simply too few other options for food. 9 tonnes of mercury were dumped into Grassy Narrows’ Wabigoon River between 1962 and 1970 by a paper mill in Dryden with permission from Ontario. Other symptoms include muscle weakness, numbness or stinging pain. The discovery of mercury poisoning in 1970 was a devastating blow to Grassy Narrows. Current status The change was made on Canada Day, a few hours after Premier Doug Ford’s office posted a news release that listed more than a dozen regulatory and legislative changes within 11 ministries. Grassy Narrows has been suffering from mercury poisoning since the 1960s, when the pulp and paper mill in Dryden, Ontario dumped 9,000 kilograms in the Wabigoon River. But remediation will be ineffective if there continues to be a discharge of mercury into the Wabigoon River now, or in the future. “The only issue is how quickly and how much.”. Grassy Narrows elder: ‘When you have mercury you have it for life’ – Dec 3, 2019 Bowater, which eventually became Resolute, filed for bankruptcy protection in 2009. When the company was finished with the mercury cells, it would dump them into the river. Beginning in the 1960s, Reed Paper dumped tons-upon-tons of toxic mercury, a by-product of paper bleaching, into the Wabigoon River. : 613-233-2773, 1-800-387-7177, Fax: 613-233-6776, inquiries@canadians.org, Push back against Doug Ford and developers, Guelph Chapter's Lin Grist testifies on homecare bill to Ontario government. The former Liberal government in Ontario said it would spend $85 million on remediating the contaminated waterways upstream of Grassy Narrows. to colleagues, clients or customers, or inquire about During the 1960s, the Dryden pulp and paper mill, operated by Reed Paper, dumped 10 tonnes of mercury into the Wabigoon River that feeds Grassy Narrows and nearby Wabaseemoong (Whitedog) Independent Nations. In 1962, Dryden Chemicals Ltd. began operating a chlor-alkali plant in Dryden, Ontario. “And frankly, so is anybody who fishes in those same water systems, whether they are Aboriginal or not.”, Copyright owned or licensed by Toronto Star Newspapers Limited. permissions/licensing, please go to: www.TorontoStarReprints.com. 1963: The community of Grassy Narrows is moved several kilometres south by order of the federal government to make the reserve accessible by provincial roads. The property is now known to harbour significant amounts of mercury, including some that was illegally buried in steel drums decades ago. "From birth, even today, you get stuff that affects the nerves," Fobister said. Before Rudd’s report, the only major scientific inquiry into mercury poisoning at Grassy Narrows was undertaken by a group of Japanese scientists, first in 1975 and again in a 2010 follow-up. They developed tremors, loss of muscle co-ordination, slurred speech and tunnel vision. It was estimated that over 9,000 kg of mercury had been dumped by the company into the Wabigoon-English river system between 1962 and 1970. While the government stalls, Grassy Narrows people continue to suffer from the multi-generational impacts of mercury on their health, culture, and economy. OTTAWA — The federal government has signed an agreement with Grassy Narrows First Nation that will see a long-promised treatment centre for residents with mercury poisoning finally built in the community. Toronto Star articles, please go to: www.TorontoStarReprints.com, Landmark study reveals ‘clear evidence’ of mercury’s toll on health in Grassy Narrows, Contaminated water, poor health care and high cancer rates have plagued this remote First Nation. Mercury poisoning impairs peripheral vision, hearing, speech, and cognitive function. “Basically, the (act) deals with trees, deals with how to make them commercially available, deals with wildlife, but it is not a statute about how to protect human health,” Castrilli said. expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Toronto The region affected includes a huge swath of central and Northern Ontario forests, between Manitoba and Quebec, according to the province. So have many in Wabaseemoong Independent Nations, also known as Whitedog First Nation, about 130 kilometres away. Chief Rudy Turtle signed the framework agreement with Indigenous Services Canada Thursday, which commits $19.5 million towards the construction of the mercury care home. Now, logging plans and practices will only be answerable to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, and its Crown Forest Sustainability Act. Between 1962 and 1970, a paper plant in Dryden, Ont., dumped 10 tonnes of mercury, a potent neurotoxin, in the Wabigoon River, upstream from Grassy Narrows. Grassy Narrows Chief Rudy Turtle welcomed Friday’s announcement. He said he helped prepare the alleged dumping site. Japanese and Canadian mercury experts have confirmed that Grassy Narrows people have been made sick by this mercury. The Ford government must act now to find the buried mercury barrels and to comprehensively investigate the mill site. rights reserved. In 1970, the Ontariogovernment ordered th… Others are very specific to Grassy Narrows and neighboring Whitedog Nation: a paper mill that dumped mercury upstream for over a decade. This is just not a good decision.”. Between 1962 and 1970, a paper plant in Dryden, Ont., dumped 10 tonnes of mercury, a potent neurotoxin, in the Wabigoon River, upstream from Grassy Narrows. I’m sure you’re as shocked as I am by reading today’s Toronto Star report that the Ontario government is dragging its feet on commitments to search for mercury at the infamous Dryden mill site – mercury that may still be contaminating the waters of Grassy Narrows (Asubpeeschoseewagong) First Nation. “Every population that lives, works or plays in the forest is at risk,” he said. When Grassy Narrows Chief Rudy Turtle got the news, he said, “I was upset, and scared for my people who eat the fish from the river that flows by that site.” The government says it is “ending duplication” by removing logging activities from the Environmental Assessment Act, which falls under the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. He hopes this will be the first of many changes when it comes to mercury disability care. During the 1960s, a chemical plant in Dryden dumped more than nine tons of mercury into the area’s water system. The potent neurotoxin contaminated the river’s fish and poisoned the people who ate them. The clear-cut logging … The property is now known to harbour significant amounts of mercury, including some that was illegally buried in steel drums decades ago. presentation-ready copies of Toronto Star content for distribution First Nations people from Grassy Narrows, Ont., continue to suffer the effects of mercury poisoning more than 40 years after commercial fishing was closed, a new report shows. 1970: The government of Ontario closes the Wabigoon-English river system commercial fishery, removing one of the primary sources of income for residents of Grassy Narrows. Please take a moment to send an email to the federal and provincial governments in support of the people of Grassy Narrows. With logging now excluded from the Environmental Assessment Act, Grassy Narrows First Nation leaders like Joseph Fobister fear the community will take yet another hit from mercury poisoning. Newspapers Limited, One Yonge Street, 4th floor, Toronto, ON, M5E 1E6, fish near Grassy Narrows remain the most contaminated in the province. It has been almost 50 years since the revelation its fish had been poisoned by tonnes of mercury dumped into its river system by a paper mill owned by Reed Paper Ltd., in … They dumped approximately 9000kg of untreated mercury into the English Wabigoon river, upstream from Grassy Narrows, from 1962 to 1970 (Anderson, 2019). People in the community have been living with mercury poisoning ever since. The federal government paid $4.4 million ($10,828,059 today) to Grassy Narrows for social service and economic development on July 27, 1984. To order Fish, their main source of food, contained extremely high levels of mercury from toxic dumping by the Dryden Chemicals pulp and paper mill upstream (Kraus 2013). 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