Particles of mill emissions saturate our environment

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To the editor,
I really do hate to be perceived as a negative nag – but there is a problem right now in Pictou County that smells to the high heavens and beyond, and it must, simply MUST be resolved in the very near future.

The pulp mill at Abercrombie Point.

The situation is as sensitive as one can imagine, since the pulp mill provides a steady source of revenue not only to those who work directly in the system, but spinoff wealth in hundreds of different directions.

You don’t have to be an engineer to know that something is badly amiss – you only have to consult your nose, throat and lungs when you are in the direct path of the current emissions from Northern Pulp.

The prevailing winds ensure that the bulk of misery is borne by the long-suffering folks in Pictou and surrounding areas and, frankly, I think they all deserve medals for putting up this long with an intolerable “mix of toxic fallout” that daily saturates restaurants, schools, homes and places of care for our veterans and others who are in fragile health.

There is a density to this cloud of 24 hour a day pollutants that I have never seen anywhere else in the world, and the data revealed recently confirms that yes indeed, this witches’ brew contains particles that exceed health guidelines by a country mile, many of them carcinogenic.

Think about this – 24 hours a day, all living creatures within a huge radius are through breath and touch taking these horrific ingredients into their systems – not only human beings but animals, birds, fish that we eat, those with breathing difficulty, allergies, fragile health, even the water that we drink, wash our hands and clothes with, and bathe in. 

It is not a guess but an absolute certainty that along with the obvious stench, minute particles of this wave of pollution is saturating the whole environment – the air we breathe, the water we drink, the clothes we dry in the breezes, everything we touch with our hands. 

So in my view the data is in, and it is such a hot potato that nobody really wants to touch it.

Can the beast be tamed?

The patiently suffering citizens of the county need to have an honest answer to that question, however tough that answer may be. 

Obviously we need all parties involved to step up to the table right now – the mill owner, engineers, the regulators involved, politicians at every level, the doctors, nurses and others who work with the ill, and yes, the law folks, because if this continues there may well be charges of wilful neglect.

Much has been said and written about the enormous cost of a fix for this mess. Well – whatever the cost, it pales to insignificance if we ignore the beast that is constantly saturating the beautiful place that is our home.

Al Farthing


Geographic location: Northern Pulp, Pictou

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Recent comments

  • Michael E. MacMaster
    July 30, 2014 - 11:04

    Very well said Mr. Farthing! There are so many ways to look at this issue, but the rubber hits the road with these emissions. They have been shown to be deleterious to peoples health. When I taught Occupational Health and Safety at NSCC, fumes, vapors, gasses were very well covered. In a work environment breathing in these toxic fumes would not be allowed, yet it is ok for the mill to poison an entire town as a direct benefit of the money it is putting into certain peoples pockets. I would enjoy hearing the Canadian Justice Minister speak to what is happening in his home town....but that will not happen as his family, lard land owners in Pictou County, are directly benefiting from the pulp industry. Follow the money....and you'll find the rats! Peace

  • anonymous
    July 30, 2014 - 07:22

    If the politicians had done their homework, they would have discovered Indonesian companies have a poor track record with environmental issues. Palm, one of Indonesia's biggest industries, is destroying that region. I have family in that region who suffer from thick smog and smoke that keep people inside for days on end when these companies-often illegally- burn out jungle to plant more palm. Just this past year Singapore citizens were told to stay indoors for the air was too dangerous to breath. it landed many of the old and young in hospitals. The companies don't care, they pay a fine, and do it all over again the next year. Google Singapore haze from Indonesia fires- then you will see how unethical these companies are.

  • June
    July 30, 2014 - 07:09

    I have moved on from Pictou county, but I have relatives, loved ones, I worry about because they remain there. If something is not done to fix this, P.C. May become a ghost town, because people will start pulling out. have you seen the show, "forgotten planet"?