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  • Photograph by John Lillis

Our Health Matters: Dogwood Initiative

Health begins in the spaces we live and the air we breathe. It is shaped by the choices we make together.

Check out this Dogwood Initiative campaign seeking environmental and health impact assessments for a proposed coal export project.

They are calling on British Columbians to ask their representatives for a provincial environmental assessment and a comprehensive, independent health impact assessment covering the full scope of the Fraser Surrey Docks-Texada coal export project. Read on for more info and consider signing the petition today!

The text below comes to us from The Dogwood Initiative. Follow the link for more information, and sign the petition today. 

 

Tell the province: Our Health Matters

Fraser Surrey Docks and Lafarge want to ship up to 8 million tonnes of U.S. thermal coal every year through White Rock, Delta and Surrey, down the Fraser River, along the Sunshine Coast to Texada Island and then out to Asia past the Gulf Islands. The worst part is, this could happen without proper health and environmental impact assessments to inform decision-makers and the public about what is at stake. 

Port Metro Vancouver failed to adequately assess the health and ecological risks with the Fraser Surrey Docks environmental impact assessment. Now we’re calling on provincial leaders to use their powers to ensure proper assessments are completed ahead of a permit decision for the Lafarge coal facility on Texada Island.

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I've Heard Increasing Coal Exports Could Endanger Our Health - How?

The Fraser Surrey Docks terminal would significantly increase diesel pollution from trains and machinery at the port site. Diesel particulate matter is a noxious form of air pollution small enough to embed in the lung tissue. It’s associated with both pulmonary and cardiovascular issues, including cancers, heart disease and asthma. Coal dust is also a form of particulate matter known to contribute to lung problems and asthma. Even worse, coal dust contains toxic heavy metals, such as lead, sulphur and mercury. That’s why reducing particulate matter is one of Metro Vancouver’s top air quality objectives.

The combination of diesel particulate matter and coal dust emissions along the rail lines seriously increases exposure risks in neighbouring communities and would increase air pollution throughout the region. That’s why prominent health officials, including the chief medical officers for the Fraser and Vancouver Coastal Health Authorities, and the province’s chief medical officer, have all called for a comprehensive health impact assessment to determine the impacts of airborne dust, and potential contamination of air, land, food and fish harvested from contaminated waters. The assessment would also look at diesel exhaust impacts, the effects of increased railway traffic on access to emergency care and noise pollution. So far, neither Port Metro Vancouver, Fraser Surrey Docks nor the provincial government have agreed to conduct a health impact assessment that complies with the health officers’ request.

Click here to read more and send a message to your representative today.  

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