Letters to the Editor 

What goes around comes around

Page 7 of 7

In B.C. 17 kraft mills discharge about 641 billion litres (141 billion gallons) of liquid effluent each year (Environment Canada Monitoring Report). Industry is trying to control this pollution and has spent billions of dollars, it reports, to comply with governmental regulations. What industry does not say is that part of that money provides for expansion of plants.

Air pollution from pulp mills contains hormone-disrupting and carcinogenic chemicals such as chlorinated phenols, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and VOCs. B.C.’s coastal pulp mills are the largest provincial source of airborne dioxins and furans, which are among the most carcinogenic substances known.

Kraft pulp mills use sulphur chemicals to get fibre out of trees. The sulphur chemicals account for the rotten egg smell (kraft means strong in German). There are federal and provincial guidelines to deal with emissions on an individual permit basis. Yet, these are largely reliant on self-reporting by the mills.

And at the end of the day I have little doubt the foul smell and pollution have anything to do with the Woodfibre closure. Unfortunately for Canadian workers, new Asia Pacific pulp mills can supply good quality pulp about one-third cheaper than B.C. mills.

One potential light at the end of the tunnel might be the saving of jobs through conventional logging in the Squamish area. A danger which accompanies that concept is if the mill is permitted to sell its timber rights to the Japanese or other offshore producers, in which case the "light at the end of the tunnel" becomes an oncoming train.

Allan Eaton


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