Imagine the public outcry if the Ontario government ignored mercury poisoning in the Grand River watershed in southwestern Ontario. The public pressure to clean it up immediately would be overwhelming. The government would rigorously explore every option to clean it up. Yet, the sad truth is that for over 30 years the Ontario government has ignored scientific reports on the need for and ways to clean up the mercury poisoning in the English-Wabigoon River System in northwestern Ontario. The Grassy Narrows First Nation has paid the price with losses to their health, economy and culture.
It was estimated that between 1962-1970 over 9,000 kg of mercury had been poured into the Wabigoon-English River system. More than four decades later the effects of mercury poisoning persist. Scientists examined 160 adults from Grassy Narrows and White Dog reserve. Over 33 per cent were diagnosed with the disease and a total of 58 per cent were still affected in some way by the mercury.
As a professional angler I have the ability to identify the species of fish I'm served, something I put to use when the halibut I had ordered arrived and I could immediately tell it was a snapper. Alarmed by how often this happens, I decided I needed to tell someone and try to do something about this.