Hazardous waste is a problem
TORONTO-Despite some progress in the province, hazardous waste continues to threaten human health, the environment and Ontario's economy due to continued significant quantities of hazardous waste and gaps in regulation and enforcement, according to a new status report by the Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy (CIELAP).
The report, called "Hazardous Waste in Ontario: Progress and Challenges," states the following:
"Hazardous waste is a problem that continues to require urgent attention not only from environmental and ethical perspectives, but from a cost perspective, as well. Various negative external costs must be addressed, including water contamination, air pollution, and clean-up costs from accidents.
"Contaminants are also entering the food chain and affecting the health of Ontario residents. This environmental health issue is likely creating significant costs for the public healthcare system, as well as employers."
In 2005, Ontario generated 1,721,240 tonnes of hazardous and liquid industrial waste. This amount is comparable to the 1,724,933 tonnes generated in 2000, meaning that there has been no significant reduction in the generation of hazardous and liquid industrial waste over the past five years.
The top three districts in Ontario that generate hazardous and liquid industrial waste are: #1. Ottawa-250,887 tonnes; #2. Burlington-233,939 tonnes; and #3. Windsor-187,050 tonnes.
"The Ontario government must provide the resources to implement its most recent hazardous-waste management initiatives effectively, and it should address the need for additional laws and policies," says Maureen Carter-Whitney, CIELAP’s research director and author of the report. "It’s also essential that the public be given easier access to information about hazardous-waste generation in Ontario, free of charge."