TOP Environmental Issues in Canada

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The protection of the environment is often discussed in the Canadian government. The country has a wide range of unique ecosystems that need support and maintenance. Also, 7% of its area is covered with rivers and lakes. That’s why the government makes many efforts to protect the national natural resources and the environment.

Nevertheless, there are still some issues necessary to be solved. In this article, you’ll find out the information about all modern environmental problems in Canada. Plus, you’ll see what disasters they may cause in case the country fails to solve them. 

List of Environmental Issues in Canada

Although Canada, as well as other countries, faces a lot of ecological problems, only some of them have the biggest influence on its ecosystems. For this reason this list includes only five major issues.

1. Mining

More than 70% of the world’s mining companies are located in Canada. Except for bad social influence, they also affect the environment.

Mining in Canada causes such ecological problems as acid rock drainage. This is the process when crushed rock generates the acid after the reaction with the water and air. This threat leaches metals from the rocks and intoxicates underground waters.

There is no question that it’s a serious disaster, which emerges in any mining area and lasts for thousands of years. Luckily, this environmental issue is actively discussed at the annual conference devoted to metal leaching and rock drainage.

2. Carbon Emissions

CBC informs that the oil industry is the largest source that generates carbon emissions within the country. Currently this is one of the major environmental issues in Canada that are in the purview of climate activists. Along with this problem, a lot of them are worried about Canada’s oilsands.

Environmentalists say that oilsands threaten the ecology by the emission-intensive extraction process. Although the oil companies are aware of this problem and make efforts to overcome it, the carbon emissions still continue growing.

3. Air Pollution

Every year more than 14,000 Canadians die due to polluted air. There are several reasons why the country suffers from this issue but growing urban areas are among the key ones.

The government agency informs that except for a bad influence on wildlife and natural resources of the country, air pollution causes dangerous acid rains and contributes to climate change in Canada.

Besides, Canada is among the major contributors to air pollution in the whole world. The country exports tons of coal overseas every year. During the burning process, coal generates such dangerous and toxic elements as mercury. Further, the country itself uses coal to generate electricity for the citizens. Every day this activity boosts the negative effects of climate change in Canada.

The piece of good news is that the Canadian government is going to stop coal usage by the end of 2030. Additionally, it constantly tries to prevent the air pollution. In 2016, it developed and introduced the Multi-sector Air Pollutants Regulations. Their main aim was to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases by limiting the usage of heaters and gaseous non-utility boilers.

4. Dams and Water Pollution

Hydroelectricity is the major source of energy in Canada. Nonetheless, despite the fact that dams are considered to be “green” sources of energy, they still affect the environment in Canada. They have an impact on the downstream and even create barriers for fish decreasing their population. 

Dams may cause floods that can destroy the whole ecosystems and farmlands. What is more, sometimes towns and villages are relocated because of such disasters. Floods also contribute to methane and carbon generation due to the decomposing of vegetation. 

Along with the problem of dams and floods, Canada faces with the issue of water usage. The World Wild Fund has stated that the country uses large amounts of fresh water to meet its agricultural and industrial goals. The organization warns that such activity may lead to horrifying devastation of the local ecosystems.

5. Soil Pollution

Soil pollution stands in line with such environmental issues in Canada as air and water pollution. Some of the main causes of this issue include the spills of chemicals and oil into the ground as well as the excessive pesticides used by farmers. According to Environment Canada, soil degradation places significant stress on the country’s flora and fauna.

Moreover, forests also suffer from soil pollution. For example, The Star informs that 12% of forests in Alberta are over their acid carrying capacity. The same problem occurs in Calgary, where an old Imperial Oil refinery is located.

Besides, due to the rigorous climate of the country, salt is often used to protect the vehicles from slippery roads. However, such activity may have serious consequences for soil. The research conducted by Gregory E. Granato and Kirk P. Smith showed that the road salt may lead to an increase of the local chlorine levels in 100 or even 4,000 times over the normal levels.

Conclusion

Although there are still a lot of current environmental issues in Canada, its government makes significant efforts to stop climate change and pollution of nature.

For example, deforestation in Canada has been almost stopped. Besides, the country constantly signs environmental agreements with the international community. It was among the first states that ratified the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.

In addition, the country tries to develop green technologies to stop the generation of greenhouse gases. No doubts, such an eco-conscious policy gives hope that we will get rid of the environmental sustainability issues in Canada. 

Environmental consultant

Kate is an environmental consultant specializing on green technologies and nature preservation techniques. She has more than 3 years of experience and worked with several non-profit organizations to save our nature from disruptive influence of people.

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