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Letter: Dying whales aren’t the only problem

Fisheries officials say a dead right whale, shown in this undated handout image, washed up on a rocky shore on the west coast of Newfoundland.
Fisheries officials say a dead right whale, shown in this undated handout image, washed up on a rocky shore on the west coast of Newfoundland.

Are Canadians to feel relief with the recent federal announcement that marine shipping in the St. Lawrence River is to slow down in order to save the right whales?

Certainly it is shocking and concerning to see on our newscasts remains of these magnificent animals washed up on our shore. All of us should want to know the causes and real solutions to this alarming problem. 

Would we also not want to know so many other factors, such as the effect of climate change or pollution levels in the St. Lawrence River? Every year one study states 20 American and Canadian cities in the Great Lakes basin dump at least 90 billion litres of raw sewage into the Great Lakes. Another study says that Canadian cities dumped 205 billion litres of raw sewage and untreated waste water into the country’s rivers and oceans (2015), and in one year Quebec and Newfoundland had the largest number of offending municipalities.

Of course, how could we forget the federal minister giving Montreal the approval to dump 8 billion litres of raw sewage into the St. Lawrence River — which they did, and research shows there are over 100 municipalities in Quebec following this practice.  Beluga whales have the highest rate of cancer of any wild animal on Earth and researchers are saying the likely cause is industrial pollution. What about all of those other species in the St. Lawrence River affected by human activity we don’t see on our television screens?

We can slow marine shipping and carbon tax citizens until the cows come home. Given the damage that we humans brought and continue to do to one of our most precious resources, and to Mother Earth, and just where will this end? Unless we get our house in order now, will the prediction by the great Stephen Hawking that we (the human race) has about 1,000 years to find another habitable planet before we go extinct, appear overly generous?

 

Stephen J. Ransier
Corner Brook

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