who dumped mercury in grassy narrows


“Every population that lives, works or plays in the forest is at risk,” he said. In 1970, the Ontariogovernment ordered th… He said he helped prepare the alleged dumping site. rights reserved. The mercury … 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. 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). 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. The property is now known to harbour significant amounts of mercury, including some that was illegally buried in steel drums decades ago. The Ford government must act now to find the buried mercury barrels and to comprehensively investigate the mill site. 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 paid $4.4 million ($10,828,059 today) to Grassy Narrows for social service and economic development on July 27, 1984. Dryden Chemical had dumped more than 20,000 pounds of mercury into the Wabigoon. 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. During the 1960s, a chemical plant in Dryden dumped more than nine tons of mercury into the area’s water system. 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. 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. The mercury contaminated the fish and poisoned the people who ate the fish. “If you were to do a keyword search in the (crown forest act) the words ‘human’ and ‘health’ will not show up,” said Joseph Castrilli, a lawyer with the Canadian Environmental Law Association. The potent neurotoxin contaminated the river’s fish and poisoned the people who ate them. View more about Dianne Saxe. 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. 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… “If you clear-cut an area with watershed, you are going to end up with mercury in the water system,” Castrilli 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 … Decades of mercury poisoning among Grassy Narrows residents illustrate the connection between industry, the environment and human health. 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. Japanese and Canadian mercury experts have confirmed that Grassy Narrows people have been made sick by this mercury. presentation-ready copies of Toronto Star content for distribution 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. 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. He hopes this will be the first of many changes when it comes to mercury disability care. 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 … The environment ministry said the elimination is part of the government’s “environmental assessment modernization efforts.”. Newspapers Limited, One Yonge Street, 4th floor, Toronto, ON, M5E 1E6, fish near Grassy Narrows remain the most contaminated in the province. When the company was finished with the mercury cells, it would dump them into the river. 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. 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. 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. : 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. “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. 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. The plant used mercury to manufacture chlorine, which was in turn used to bleach paper at the Dryden Paper Company Ltd. 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. to colleagues, clients or customers, or inquire about By 1970, the Ontario government closed down the commercial fishery and issued formal warnings against fish consumption, a dietary staple of Grassy Narrows residents, due to the extremely high levels of toxic mercury found in fish. 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. They developed tremors, loss of muscle co-ordination, slurred speech and tunnel vision. “The only issue is how quickly and how much.”. 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 … 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. Mercury poisoning impairs peripheral vision, hearing, speech, and cognitive function. Now, logging plans and practices will only be answerable to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, and its Crown Forest Sustainability Act. The tipster alleged that decades ago mercury was dumped in barrels and buried in a plastic-lined pit. 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. Forestry companies’ logging plans are approved by the Ministry of Natural Resources and renewed every 10 years as part of a management plan. The clear-cut logging … “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. 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. 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. The discovery of mercury poisoning in 1970 was a devastating blow to Grassy Narrows. “We’ve suffered from the environmental contamination of mercury already,” Fobister said. 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. 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. 1969-70: High levels of mercury are discovered in the water and fish downriver from the plant. 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. 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? Water bottles are seen at the local water supply site on the Grassy Narrows First Nation, in northwestern Ontario, Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019. The emergence of mercury poisoning symptoms among huge numbers of residents. 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. 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. People in the community have been living with mercury poisoning ever since. 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. The current plan for the Whiskey Jack Forest, home to Grassy Narrows, ends in 2022. This is just not a good decision.”. Others are very specific to Grassy Narrows and neighboring Whitedog Nation: a paper mill that dumped mercury upstream for over a decade. 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. 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. “We don’t need any more. While the government stalls, Grassy Narrows people continue to suffer from the multi-generational impacts of mercury on their health, culture, and economy. 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. “For us, for me, as a mother and grandmother, I feel it’s a betrayal to my people, the … Current status 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. expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Toronto 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. 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. 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