Canadian Environmental issues tar sands
In this presentation I will be talking about Athabasca tar sands and its effects on
Animal habitats and health are affected by tar sands
Canada’s boreal forest is a crucial habitat for some of the world’s largest populations of wildlife
including wolves, grizzly bear, lynx and moose, it is also a vital habitat to endangered species
such as the woodland caribou and whooping cranes. Poisoning waterways, the food supply and
the air in the surroundings has led to drops and even disappearances of species near pipelines,
platforms and other infrastructure of the tarsands.
Animal habitats are affected by tar sands production. Nearly 50 per cent of the 700 bird
species that regularly occur in the U.S. and Canada rely on the boreal for their survival.
More than 300 species of birds regularly breed there each spring. The estimates of the
number of birds that will be lost from mining and in situ operations over the next 30 to 50
years range from six million to 166 million.
Fish in the last five to six years have been found with lumps on them, humpbacks,
and crooked tails Walleye exhibiting external tumors, bulging eyes, and abnormal
fins, Lake Athabasca AB, near Ft.Chipewyan . Caused by water pollution from the
Water diversion and contamination
Approximately one million cubic metres of water is diverted from the Athabasca River to tar
sands operations each day. Only 8 percent of the water removed from the river is returned.
Ninety two percent ends up in the tailings ponds. The Athabasca watershed downstream is
threatened, as the River is already under increasing stress from dropping water levels as the
glaciers that feed into the Rocky mountains gradually retreat and sources diminish.
Water pollution causes cancer
PAHs These are cancer-causing chemicals that are released when things are burned but burning petroleum
in the production of the oilsands leaves a particular fingerprint, so the scientists were able to trace where
the PAHs in the core samples came from. PAHs in all six lakes 90 kilometres from the massive oil sands
operations had increased anywhere from 2½ times to 23 times background levels in the early 1960s,
before the start of oilsands mining in the region. The PAHs fall into the water from air pollution.
First Nations furious with governments weak response
to massive contaminant spill in Athabasca River
Oil spill that occurred on October 31st resulting in close to a billion litres of contaminant
entering tributaries of the Athabasca River and eventually the Athabasca River itself. Water quality
data from the first days of the spill indicate many contaminants of concern to be above CCME
guidelines, some 70 times above the guidelines. This includes PAHs, cadmium, arsenic, lead, selenium,
silver, thallium, and even uranium. These numbers and contaminants represent real danger to human
health and associated drinking water.
The tar sands are by far the fastest growing source of greenhouse
gases in Canada, producing as much as three times the amount of
greenhouse gases as conventional oil production. In addition,
production and refining operations produce huge emissions of toxins,
from nitrogen oxides that acidify hundreds of square kilometres.
Air pollution from tar sands
Between 2002 and 2008, tar sands facilities reported a near doubling of volatile organic
compounds and particulate matter; a 50 per cent increase in nitrogen oxides; and a 14 fold
increase in hydrogen sulphide emissions. Tar sands constitute one of our planets greatest
Cost to human health
Oil sands development is having severe negative effects on the health of communities downstream
from the tar sands are experiencing cancer rates far higher than can be explained by change. Leukemia,
lymphoma, lupus and rare forms of cancer have all increasing in recent years in the population that is
for the most part made up of Athabasca Chipewyan and Mikisew Cree First Nations.
Stop the tar sands
We should stop the tar sands because Canada’s boreal forest is being cut down and poisoned. It is a crucial
habitat for some of the world’s largest populations of wildlife Nearly 50 per cent of the 700 bird species in the
U.S and Canada rely on the boreal for their survival. Fish in the last five to six years have been found deformed
caused by water pollution from the oil sands. The tar sands are the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas
and produce huge emissions of toxins that acidify hundreds of square kilometres by rain. The tar sands are
having severe negative effects on the health of communities downstream from the tar sands are experiencing
cancer rates higher than can be explained by change.
Timoney, K,P ; Lee, P. (2009) Does the Alberta Tar
Sands Industry Pollute? The Scientific Evidence.
Retrieved March 11, 2014.
Nature Canada. (2014) How do the Tar Sands
Affect Wildlife Habitat? Retrieved March 12,
Roik, A.(January 28, 2013) The Tar Sands are
dumping cancer-causing pollution in lakes. Retrieved
March 12, 2014. http://www.socialist.ca/node/1555
Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation and tar
sands. (n/d). Updates and info on ACFN's case
against Shell Oil. Retrieved March 12, 2014.
Environmental defence inspiring change. (2014)
Reality Check: Air Pollution and the Tar Sands.
Retrieved March 13, 2014.
Lenz, G.(Friday, 21 February 2014). The true
cost of oil shocking photographs reveal the
unmatched devastation caused by Albertas tar
sands. Retrieved March 13, 2014.
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