In 2014, a Canadian Press reporter asked to interview a scientist about algae. A flurry of 110 emails fluttered between 16 government communications officers, illuminating nothing about algae but volumes about a bloated bureaucracy dedicated to providing relevant information purely as a last resort.
But that culture of silence has been broken.
Scientists recently examined the waters off Burrard Inlet and Howe Sound, revealing mercury, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, flame retardants and micro-plastics.
And then they talked about their findings, explaining the extent of the pollution in our waters and the fact that those bodies of water aren’t unique.
Research has shown about 3,200 plastic micro-particles per cubic metre of sea water in the Strait of Georgia.
It’s an environmental calamity that’s been easy to ignore because it’s so hard to notice; even zooplankton gobble up those tiny bits of plastic.
But with information at our disposal, Canadians can finally have a fulsome debate on where our tax dollars should go and how our government policies should be crafted.
We thank Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for lifting the cone of silence from science, while also hoping the $2.7 million announced Canada-wide toward research on pollution in the marine environment will be a beginning rather than an end. It’s one thing to talk about environmental disaster, it’s another thing to do something about it.
We’re glad this information is in the public eye.
Now it’s up to all of us not to blink.
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