- Created on Thursday, 24 November 2016 15:08
Ontario vows to clean up Grassy Narrows river system
Ontario’s environment minister is promising to clean up the river system near Grassy Narrows First Nation “to the satisfaction of the chief and the health of the people.”
The Star reported Tuesday that a comprehensive analysis of provincial fish data conducted by the University of Waterloo’s research chair in biology, Dr. Heidi Swanson, revealed that the walleye eaten by the people of Grassy Narrows are the most mercury-contaminated in the province.
Promise to clean up waters at Grassy Narrows is long overdue: Editorial
Fifty-four years after mercury was first dumped into the river system near Grassy Narrows in northern Ontario, poisoning the fish and any person or creature that ate them, Environment Minister Glen Murray is finally promising to clean up the water.
It’s about time.
Study after study has shown that generations of people from the Grassy Narrows and Whitedog First Nations have been poisoned as the provincial government mishandled the file and obfuscated the truth.
Grassy Narrows residents eating fish with highest mercury levels in province
For the residents of Grassy Narrows who have fished Clay Lake and the river downstream for generations, walleye is a dietary staple.
Now a comprehensive analysis of provincial data conducted for the Star confirms what has long been suspected: the walleye they are eating are the most mercury-contaminated in the province.
“It’s overwhelming for me,” said Ryan Kokokopenace, 36, when told of the Star’s finding. Kokokopenace and his family fish for walleye in the Wabigoon River, which is connected to Clay Lake. “It’s been our way of life for so long. I’ve been doing it since I was 3.”
The mercury in an average meal of walleye from Clay Lake is 15 times the daily tolerable intake limit for adults, and about 40 times the limit for women of child-bearing age, pregnant women and children.