Part 1 of Waterkeeper's special 1-hour live taping of Living at the Barricades at the Grad Club in Kingston on February 22, 2008 goes to air on Thursday February 28, 2008 on CFRC 101.9fm (cfrc.ca) from 5:30-6:00pm. Part 2 will air on Thursday March 6, 2008. The show - "Beyond the Barricades: The promise of a swimable, drinkable, fishable Kingston" - was an exciting opportunity to "watch" environmental justice radio. Many thanks to guest co-host Gordon Downie, air emissions expert Dr. Henry Cole, Waterkeeper boat-captain Colin Mosier, fishing guide Craig Vance, Chris Brown, Virginia Clark, CFRC 101.9fm, and everyone who came to the Grad Club to listen and support Living at the Barricades and community radio.
The winners of Waterkeeper's draw for a Gordon Downie-signed Kingston Frontenacs jersey or a copy of "World Container" signed by The Tragically Hip will be announced on this Thursday's show on CFRC. Tune in!
On this week's Living at the Barricades Podcast, Power, Politics, Economic Clout, and Historic Pollution: barriers to environmental justice.
The Government of Ontario is proposing banning the cosmetic use of pesticides in urban centres. The legislation implementing this ban would prohibit the use of pesticides on lawns, private gardens, parks and schoolyards. Contemplated exemptions include golf courses, pesticide use for public health concerns (e.g. West Nile virus), agriculture and managed forests.
This proposed policy was posted for comment on the Environmental Registry until February 17, 2008. Lake Ontario Waterkeeper made submissions voicing support for the removal of toxins from our waterways. While many municipalities have already implemented by-laws controlling the use of pesticides, this province-wide ban would create more uniformity and have a much wider impact.
Removing toxins from our drinking water is essential to protecting our health and the health of future generations. For several decades now scientists have understood that pesticides have negative effects on human health. The Ontario College of Family Physicians completed an extensive review of research on the impact of pesticides. The evidence demonstrated a definitive link between pesticides and several serious illnesses such as cancer, neurological damage, reproductive problems, and fetal defects.
Pesticides bring environmental challenges that only aggravate impacts on human health. The breast milk of women who eat Lake Ontario fish has been found to contain high levels of PCBs and pesticides. It has been found, moreover, that women consuming Lake Ontario fish take longer to get pregnant as a result of the toxins they have ingested.
The outdated stormwater infrastructure beneath our cities and towns funnel rainwater directly and untreated from our streets to our waterways. The result of this unfortunate design is that when we apply toxins to our lawns and gardens and it rains, the water runs directly into the lakes, shocking the ecosystem with toxic bursts. Even when treated, it is often impossible to remove these pesticides from our drinking water. To keep toxins out of our water we must prohibit chemicals from being applied to the land in the fist place.
While there is a clear need to ban pesticides in urban settings for cosmetic purposes, additional steps will need to be taken to improve our water quality. The exponentially greater use of herbicides into the Boreal Forest by forestry companies, for example, must be addressed if the provincial government intends to fulfill its commitment to fully remove pesticides from the environment.
The Government of Ontario will now have to decide whether to adopt the proposed legislation prohibiting urban pesticide use. Although the public comment period has ended, further support for this proposal can be forwarded to local members of provincial parliament.
Click here to read Lake Ontario Waterkeeper's submission to the Ministry of the Environment.