In the past two decades, more than 7,000 rivers and lakes have been washed away by flooding, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
“The water we use today, we used to use in the 19th century,” says Michael Stokes, executive director of the Environmental Defense Fund, an environmental and conservation group.
But that’s no longer the case.
Now we’re importing it.
“There is no place for it,” Stokes says.
“If you want to preserve the environment, it’s got to come from somewhere.”
The first step to preserving the environment is to get rid of toxic chemicals in our environment.
The chemical companies that are profiting from water pollution in Canada are not required to list all their toxic chemicals on their product labels.
That’s because the government doesn’t regulate them, Stokes explains.
“That is, in the name of environmental protection and saving the environment.
It’s not sustainable.”
The Environmental Defense Federation estimates that there are between 5,000 and 10,000 tonnes of chemical substances in the United States and Canada that aren’t listed on the Environmental Protection Agency’s website.
Stokes calls that a “bogus figure.”
“We’re talking about thousands of tonnes of chemicals that are now regulated by the EPA,” he says.
The Environmental Defence Foundation’s research shows that Canada’s rivers and streams are already full of chemicals.
In fact, the country’s waterways are so polluted that in some areas, drinking water can be unsafe.
In 2015, a study from the University of Guelph found that the contamination levels in a Saskatchewan River were nearly 10 times higher than the national average, and were higher than levels in parts of Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec.
The report found that rivers and waters that drain into Lake Huron, the largest lake in North America, are nearly twice as polluted as other rivers.
“We’ve got a lot of chemicals in lakes, but we don’t know what the levels are and we don and won’t know for a long time what they are,” Stoke says.
A 2015 report from Environment Canada found that 90 per cent of the chemical contaminants in the Canadian environment are not listed on Canada’s Toxic Substances Control Act, the regulatory framework for the country.
The act doesn’t require chemical companies to list their chemicals, but does require them to do so in order to protect human health and the environment from adverse effects.
So why aren’t companies like DuPont and Monsanto listed on these labels?
“We haven’t seen any significant changes in the regulatory system that would give us more certainty,” Stakes says.
And there’s one big reason why the government isn’t listing chemical companies.
“These companies are not accountable to Canadians, they’re not accountable by the public and they’re certainly not accountable for their actions,” says Dr. Brianne Littre, an epidemiologist at the University.
“They’re not subject to the same rules and regulations as a corporation, which means they don’t have to share the costs of their pollution.”
When we’re talking the environmental impacts of chemical pollutants, Littres says, “it’s really the responsibility of the government.”
The government is failing to protect our waterways and lakes, says Dr, Anne Marie Morris.
Morris, a professor of environmental health and sustainability at the Université de Sherbrooke, has been working to help change that.
She’s leading the Global Water Pollution Project, a collaboration between McGill University and the University de Sherbal.
The project aims to educate the public on the importance of protecting our lakes, rivers and rivers, and is developing a plan for addressing the effects of chemical pollution.
The Global Water Program aims to increase the use of renewable resources, reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, and help protect the environment by developing strategies for managing and recycling water resources.
As part of the project, Morris says, she’s trying to educate people about the risks of the chemicals that we’re using in our homes, our cars, and our bodies.
She says the project is working to change public perceptions of chemical contamination.
“People are being told it’s just something to worry about and not do anything about,” she says.
Morris says it’s critical that governments and companies understand the importance to their communities of reducing the environmental harm caused by chemical pollution, and that they take responsibility for their own actions.
“When it comes to the issue of chemicals, we’re seeing a very disturbing trend,” Morris says.
For decades, Morris has been studying how chemicals affect humans.
In her research, she has found that chemicals can be toxic, and can be associated with serious health effects.
In a 2010 study published in Environmental Health Perspectives, Morris showed that exposure to two chemicals, acetone and acetic acid, is associated with higher rates of diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
She also found that acetone, which is used in cosmetics and detergents, is linked to breast cancer.
Morris has found a link between exposure to