I’m sure you’re as shocked as I am by reading today’s Toronto Star report that the Ontario government is dragging its feet on commitments to search for mercury at the infamous Dryden mill site – mercury that may still be contaminating the waters of Grassy Narrows (Asubpeeschoseewagong) First Nation.
In the 1960s and early 1970s, the Reed Paper plant dumped 10 tonnes of mercury waste into the adjacent Wabigoon River upstream from Grassy Narrows. The property is now known to harbour significant amounts of mercury, including some that was illegally buried in steel drums decades ago.
A retired plant worker blew the whistle on this, saying he was ordered to haphazardly bury dozens of barrels of mercury waste in the 1970s. Recent soil samples from the property show unnaturally high levels of mercury, indicating that the barrels may have rusted away and released their toxic contents.
The people of Grassy Narrows deserve justice – they deserve clean land and water and for these illegally dumped contaminants to be fully removed and the area restored. Will you take a moment of your time to write to the Ontario government and demand that it fulfill the commitment to remediate this site?
The former Liberal government in Ontario said it would spend $85 million on remediating the contaminated waterways upstream of Grassy Narrows. But remediation will be ineffective if there continues to be a discharge of mercury into the Wabigoon River now, or in the future.
The Ford government must act now to find the buried mercury barrels and to comprehensively investigate the mill site.
While the government stalls, Grassy Narrows people continue to suffer from the multi-generational impacts of mercury on their health, culture, and economy.
Grassy Narrows is asking the federal and provincial governments for compensation for the ongoing mercury crisis, to increase social program funding in the community, and to establish a local mercury survivors home and care centre without further delay.
Thank you for taking action.