Our Privacy Statement & Cookie Policy

By continuing to browse our site you agree to our use of cookies, revised Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can change your cookie settings through your browser.

I agree

Canada's First Nation declares emergency due to chemicals emission


Canada's Aamjiwnaang First Nation declared a state of emergency due to the excessive release of harmful chemicals from INEOS Styrolution's plastic manufacturing plant, the Indigenous group said.

The Frankfurt-based company was issued a compliance order by the provincial environment ministry on April 18 to investigate the cause of the leak at its Ontario factory, which began earlier in April. The state of emergency will stay in place unless the discharge of benzene drops to acceptable levels, First Nation said late Thursday.

The company shut down its facility on April 20 to conduct maintenance and the Ontario government is working with the First Nation to ensure public safety.

The company did not respond to Reuters request for comment on how it plans to control the chemical leak from the facility.

The Ontario government's environment department told Reuters the provincial ministry is investigating the elevated benzene emission from INEOS Styrolution's facilities.

Aamjiwnaang First Nation community, which has a population of about 1,000, is surrounded by industrial facilities and the group has long complained about environmental issues.

The state of emergency will allow the community to acquire more resources to tackle the situation, the chief of Aamjiwnaang First Nation Christopher Plain said in a Facebook post.

Darren Henry, the councilor of Aamjiwnaang First Nation told Reuters that more than 10 people have visited the hospital in the past two weeks with symptoms of scratchy eyes, breathing troubles and headaches.

The Indigenous group said the discharges can cause severe health risks to the community.

The declaration of emergency comes as thousands of delegates gathered in Ottawa this week to attend the United Nations plastics treaty talks to rein in soaring plastic pollution.

Janelle Nahmabin, a councilor of the Aamjiwnaang who is one of the attendees, said the unfortunate incident underscores why some countries and environmental groups want to make sure the treaty also addressees how plastics are made, including the extraction of petroleum.

"I'm hopeful that we, being here and being this unfortunate example, open the eyes of the decision makers in the room, as well as all global citizens," she said.

(Cover image via VCG)

Source(s): Reuters
Search Trends