Canadian Consulting Engineer

Progress made to harmonize Canadian environmental protection

December 5, 2003
By Canadian Consulting Engineer

Canadian environment ministers agreed last week to develop a national strategy for harmonizing the way municipaliti...

Canadian environment ministers agreed last week to develop a national strategy for harmonizing the way municipalities manage wastewater effluents. The strategy will be developed over the next three years, based on the principles of flexibility, respect for jurisdictional responsibilities, and a single-window approach for municipalities. It will also recognize the varying challenges and significant costs of implementation.
The Ministers also agreed to develop Canada-wide principles for dealing with waste from electronic products, building on the principles being developed by western provinces.
They also received and support a new Canada-wide standard (CWS) for dioxins and furans from conical waste combustion of municipal waste, noting that dioxins and furans are two of the most persistent toxic substances. There are about 45 conical waste combustors in Newfoundland and Labrador, which will be phased out by 2009. They release an estimated 44 grams per year of dioxins and furans to the atmosphere — 27% of the national total documented in a 2001 inventory of releases in Canada.
Upon completion of their internal approval processes, jurisdictions that are signatories to the Harmonization Accord will sign the dioxins and furans standard, making it the 12th standard adopted since 1998.
Ministers also discussed the transboundary movement of air pollutants across the Canada-U.S. border, and the impacts they have on acid rain, air quality, ecosystems and the health of Canadians. They recognized the importance of the commitments under the Canada-U.S. Air Quality Agreement. They reaffirmed their commitments under the CWS on particulate matter and ozone, and their desire to continue to work with the U.S. to reduce transboundary air pollution. They also underscored the importance of protecting clean areas of the country from both transboundary and domestic pollution.
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