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Fighting with the Mercury Contamination in Grassy Narrows

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STEP 1: Who- The communities in Grassy Narrows have had enough about the problem of the mercury spill in the English Wabigoon River in northwestern Ontario.

When- Around 10 metric tons of mercury were spilled into the river by a paper plant in the 1960s. The government hasn’t done anything until know. Where- Mercury has tremendous effect on the health and lives of hundreds of residents from the First Nations communities in Grassy Narrows.

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What- Around 10 metric tons of mercury were spilled into the river by a paper plant in the 1960s, and today, the fish in the river have the largest amount of mercury concentrations in the province. The Ontario provincial government announced it was determined to do a thorough clean-up of mercury spill. Mercury has had a tremendous effect on the health and lives of hundreds of residents from the First Nations communities that live there.

Why- This is a human right violation because the rights of the two communities being affected by the mercury is losing the right of to life, liberty, and personal security.

STEP 2:

Canada’s federal government has recently spoken and they said they would tackle the mercury contamination “once and for all”. They are also pitching in to support the clean up. These communities and their many supporters in Canada and around the world including Human Rights Watch will be watching. Clear timelines and budgets will be set.

Mercury is highly toxic to humans. Despite this, health care in Grassy Narrows is the same as most other First Nation reserves in Canada. There is a small clinic staffed by nurses and visited frequently by a doctor.

The communities have activists in Grassy Narrows who have asked for a “mercury home” on the reserve. Which would allow people affected by mercury to receive care and support close to their community.

STEP 3:

The two communities are being denied of certain rights. Like right to life, liberty, personal security, right to fair public hearing, and freedom of opinion and information. It is not right when people rights are denied or delayed.

People are getting sick. Do not forget the health needs of these communities are still very important. Mercury is highly toxic to humans. But health care in Grassy Narrows is the same as most other First Nation reserves in Canada. There is a small clinic staffed by nurses and visited frequently by a doctor. People who are aging with the effects of mercury also need better care. People of Grassy Narrows have asked for a “mercury home” on the reserve. Which would allow people affected by mercury to have care and support close to their community.

Government keeps promising they’ll do something but they never do. Canada’s federal government which recently announced it would be working on the mercury contamination “once and for all”. These communities and their many supporters in Canada and around the world including Human Rights Watch will be looking closely at their work. Clear timelines and budgets should be set.

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