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Nature News
by Marlene Harris

October 2001   —   Tar Ponds Protests Continue

Conservation groups in Canada continue to protest the deplorable situation in the Sydney Nova Scotia Tar Ponds, one of the, if not the, absolutely worst toxic waste sites in the country.

In May of this year, the Federal Ministry of Health agreed to undertake urgent measures in the affected areas of the Tar Ponds, including soil sampling and analysis of the properties, and testing on the residents of the affected areas. Meetings would be held with the residents to keep them informed of test findings. The government would also put in place, contingency plans in the event that levels of contamination were found to pose potential health risks.

According to the Sierra Club, Health Canada arranged the testing procedures in conjunction with the Nova Scotia Dept of Health, and the relationship between the two government levels was poor, with the Nova Scotia government "consistently minimizing" the health risks in the few test results which were released to the public. The Sierra Club believes, based on its own evaluation of the test findings, that the short-term risk assessments for human health risks are "seriously flawed." As a result, the organization is calling for an urgent parliamentary inquiry into the matter.

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