Air Pollution Addressed in Report to Cheif of First Nations

by jessieparlee on Octobre 7, 2016 - 11:45pm

The article that CBC released was regarding the concern of air quality in Fort McKay. This report outlined 17 new recommendations for improving the air quality in the Fort McKay region. It has also been created in as a step to improve the relationship between first nations and the government.  The problem is that although this report is beneficial to the aboriginal community, which is a community of 600 to be exact, this problem has long been occurring. In fact, concerns about the air quality have been going on since the 1960 and the community is just experiencing some form of action now.

Air quality is a problem because of oil sand production and corporations which pollute harmful chemicals into the air. In fact, the fumes which are produced when the oil sands are in operation are sometimes so bad that people of the community, including hunters, have to stay inside with their windows shut because the stench  Members of the community are scared that the lack of clean air will impact the most vulnerable, children. They are worried that the young will not live long healthy lives. In fact Between January 2010 and December 2014, the Alberta Energy Regulator received 165 complaints from Fort McKay residents, all regarding odors and breathing problems. Although the report released calls for assessment of long-term and cumulative health effects of emissions, first nations are still skeptical that there will be any change. The report also recommended that a better understanding should be held between the industry and the air quality in Fort McKay.

Although a report has been made to try to improve air quality for residents around the oil sands, the chief of first nation says that change will not come over night. He states that trust will have to be developed and mended through the demonstration of action. The purpose of this article was to draw attention towards the treatment first nations are receiving by the Canadian Government and corporations. Another factor is to better understand the environmental injustice which members of these communities are experiencing.

Unfortunately this article did not come as a surprise, for years members of first nation communities have been fighting a long and hard battle to not have their rights diminished over environmental protection. It is also no shock how long members of this community have been waiting and longing for action. Even less of a surprise is that other members of the community, outside of the Fort McKay region, were not even notified of this document with 17 new suggestions to improve the air quality.

Access to clean air is a necessity, and should be available to every individual. People need to be aware that this isn’t just an ‘Aboriginal issue’ it is a Canadian one. The government should fix the relationship between the environment and people, also to members of communities. Reconciliation does not mean ‘forgive and forget’, it is to ‘remember and change’, and that is exactly what the chief of First Nations is encouraging. With the media involved, hopefully more citizens can become educated on the issues of air quality. The way that environmental issues are portrayed in the media ultimately changes society’s values and definitions.