West Prince facing danger

Letters to the Editor (The Guardian)
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Editor: The P.E.I. government regulates pesticides. Environment Minister Janice Sherry is paid to preserve and enhance the quality of our natural environment, including water, air, soil, flora and fauna. Her department is supposed to enforce environmental laws.

A federal study confirms that after years of dumping oilsands tailings into holding ponds in Alberta, there are tailings leaching into groundwater and seeping into the Athabasca River, a source of drinking water. They estimate each pond’s seepage at 6.5 million litres a day.

What about our Waste Watch containment area in West Prince? Are heavy metals being leached into ground water? The potato industry has a problem with wireworm. Some producers want to fumigate (sterilize) the soil with Vapam (metam sodium), which is a carcinogenic or cancer-causing compound.

The strawberry industry also has a disease virus transported by an aphid. A contract between our P.E.I. government and Environment Canada has supposedly been signed and Westeck will fumigate strawberry runner fields in West Prince this summer. Wayne MacKinnon, a government spokesman, claims this is only a pilot research program for experimental purpose to see how much leaches into the groundwater.

Nitrates leached into our drinking water. Then what?

West Prince is about to become guinea pigs for the federal Conservative and P.E.I. Liberal governments. Chloropicrin, a carcinogenic, will be applied. This pesticide is highly toxic, may be fatal if inhaled, can harm the heart, kidneys, liver, lungs and eyes. If ingested it can cause colic and death. It is toxic to fish.

Fumigants are inherently dangerous pesticides. Each year groups of us travel to West Prince strawberry fields and spend hundreds of dollars harvesting their fruits. Personally I will not be picking and purchasing strawberries from West Prince anymore.

Minister Sherry, are you going to do your job and stop this project, or sit on your hands as usual and watch the demise of a West Prince industry? What is the stance of all elected federal MPS on this atrocity?

Gary A. O. MacKay,

Birch Hill

Organizations: Environment Canada

Geographic location: West Prince, Alberta, Athabasca River P.E.I.

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