Aggressive cleanup needed on waste sites

Letter to editor from Pierre Sadik
Cape Breton Post
Thursday, Oct. 29, 2003

The issue of contaminated toxic waste sites, such as the notorious Sydney tar ponds, has been in the news lately. Sadly, this story makes for local news everywhere across Canada, principally because of the number of contaminated sites dotting the country.

There are more than 10,000 toxic waste sites in Canada, many of them in close proximity to communities.

Ticking-time bombs? A burden on the next generation? No, actually not: the burden is very real in the here and now. There is above average incidence of cancer in several of these areas. That is why the federal government must embark upon an aggressive cleanup agenda. One proposal, the Clean Canada Fund, would assess high-risk toxic sites (yes, many remain unassessed) and clean up the worst ones.

Surely this is more important than endless musing about how much money to add to or leave in the federal budget's contingency fund.

Let's assume we are saving for a rainy day. That day is upon us. What could be more devastating than watching our own children get sick before our very eyes?

Pierre Sadik
Program manager
Green Budget Coalition