June 12, 2008
Residents’ Stories Show Need for Pollution Disclosure Law
Toronto is just four weeks away from seeing a new bylaw that will force polluters to publicly report their use and release of key toxic chemicals. That’s great news for residents, says Lina Cino, Campaigner for the Toronto Environmental Alliance.
“Torontonians want the right to know what toxic chemicals they are being exposed to in their communities. Just go to our website, www.secrecyistoxic.ca, where residents have posted over 250 stories of local pollution concerns.” For example:
Sandra Van lives in South Etobicoke. She and other neighbourhood parents are concerned about the fumes they smell outside their children’s school. Residents suspect the fumes are coming from a large scale furniture manufacturer down the road from the school. After repeated attempts by TEA to contact the company about the fumes, no response has been forthcoming.
Frisca Ozorio lives in Scarborough. One of her concerns is the TTC Barns located behind her subdivision. Not only is the neighborhood overwhelmed by diesel fumes on a daily basis but she is also concerned about the potential toxic exposure from the solvents and degreasers that are being used.
Siobhan Delaney and her Mount Dennis neighbours share their neighbourhood with a lot of industries.
Residents welcome the economic activity, but are concerned about the environmental and health impacts of the pollution that may come with it. Thanks to the website, some businesses are responding to the residents’ concerns. Recently, one business invited Ms. Delaney and TEA for a presentation and tour of their facility.
The website has engendered some conversations between residents and polluters, but too many concerns remain unanswered.
“We need a better picture of where pollution comes from before we can really work with local businesses to reduce it,” says Cino, “This bylaw is a necessary step to making Toronto a healthier city.”
The draft Community Right to Know bylaw is expected to be tabled at the July 3rd Board of Health meeting at City Hall. In January, city staff recommended that the bylaw require annual reporting by polluters using and releasing 25 toxic substances that are in Toronto’s air at unhealthy levels. Reported information will be made available to the public through user-friendly data-base, allowing searches by neighborhood, facility, and releases.
TEA will be sending out weekly updates counting down to City Hall’s tabling of the draft bylaw.
For more information please call:
Lina Cino, Toxics Campaigner
Toronto Environmental Alliance