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Letter: Environment Protection

"Canada must pass laws to protect water and the environment because it takes "pathetic care" of the nation’s water resources".

"Canada must pass laws to protect water and the environment because it takes "pathetic care" of the nation’s water resources".

This was the main message from Maude Barlow, who was a keynote speaker at the first, Water Awareness Day that recently took place at the Matlock recreation centre.

Lack of water protection makes Maude Barlow bristle (Interlake Enterprise, 29 July)

Yes, sorely, Canada does not have much of a record, except a poor one, when it concerns the protection of our environment, water sources and climate. (Green House Gases). Looking at this planet and especially after seeing Lake Winnipeg or the Athabasca Tar Sands devastation, any visitor from outer space would say, "I want to see the manager".

It is too easy for many of us living in Canada to take our wonderful waters, our blood of life, for granted, and reading the grim message of the pathetic care of our nation’s water resources, by Ms. Barlow, only bolsters the desperate need for a Canada Water Commissioner.

Science has long identified the source of the problems with the Lake waters and many other Canadian lakes and waters experiencing massive eutrophication. For more than 40 years, study after study, arrived at a consensus: over-fertilization of our fresh waters.

In 1974, co-author of "The Algal Bowl," scientist John R. Vallentyne predicted that we would be living with an environmental disaster he called the algal bowl by the year 2000. Just as the Dust Bowl of the 1930s was created by misusing western farmland, he forecast that continued misuse of lakes would also lead to water degradation. To-day, waters suffer from our ignorance and denial. His predictions have been realized.

Science also tells us Lake water recovery is costly and takes time. Having failed to heed the warnings, the most cost effective approach now is to reduce inputs and wait for decades, for the symptoms of eutrophication to subside.

The old adage "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure", fits Lake Winnipeg's algae problems perfectly. It is a hard lesson of our ignorance and complacency.

It is clear that all government levels have ignored the basic needs and principles of Water Stewardship for many years in the pursuit of narrow economic interests. The grim consequences are now a sounding board of our negligence.

Lake Winnipeg has become a horrid reminder of shameful devastation, a repercussion that we are leaving our children and their children to bear alone.

John Fefchak, Virden, MB