Single use plastics apocalypse of our time

Letter regarding water bottling plant proposed for Canal Flats

Dear Editor:

I am writing this letter to oppose building a water bottling plant on the Columbia River in Canal Flats, B.C.

Mr. Belanger and Ms. Ward would like to harvest the crystal-clear water on the Columbia River’s aquifer and sell it in single use plastic bottles.

Numerous studies, including those done by the World Health Organization and McGill University, have shown that microplastics in bottled water present an immediate threat to the environment and public health. Microplastics come from the plastic cap and bottle itself. They are therefore present in the water and are airborne. Once the water is bottled in plastic it will be polluted by microplastics that end up in our environment, including the crystal-clear waters of the Columbia River. From there we are free to ingest the now contaminated water either in bottles or freely flowing from the source. There are many studies currently underway that have determined that microplastics, which are harmful to our health, don’t disappear, we leave them to our children. Why on earth would we allow them to be introduced at the mouth of the Columbia River?

The article in the Columbia Valley Pioneer states that the aquifer is not in danger of being depleted because it’s replenished by rain, snow and runoff. Not only does climate change make it impossible to know what the precipitation of the future looks like I wonder who their consultant was. I’d also like to know what, if any, thought has been given to the possibility of it being sold once it’s established. I’m sure Coca-Cola, Nestle or other such mega-corporations with very poor environmental and social policies would be interested.

Single use plastics are the apocalypse of our time and I’m am amazed that council would even consider allowing this to go forward. Canada’s Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna, while at the international conference of the world’s oceans in Cancun said, “We are looking at a zero-plastics-waste charter.” Cities, towns and

municipalities all over the world are banning the sale of bottled water because they recognize the catastrophic damage it causes. Representatives from the Syilx Okanagan, Ktunaxa and Secwepemc peoples, British Columbia and Canadian governments signed a letter of agreement in Castlegar to restore the salmon populations in the upper Columbia. This is a three-year commitment from all parties. How will polluting our pristine river with microplastics fit with that vision?

We, as consumers, can adopt behaviors to reduce plastic. We must however act as larger groups to ensure we can reduce microplastic pollution in every aspect of our environment. Here is an opportunity for residents of the Columbia Valley to protect future generations, wildlife, wetlands, the health of the river and consequently marine environments.

Please, let’s not embarrass ourselves on the world stage by allowing The Source of the Columbia Beverages, in Canal Flats B.C. to move forward.

Patti Meadows


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