Problem withTar Sands
Dr. A. H. Serdar
This record is proposed to present a brief initial overview of some issues regarding research into Canadian environmental pollution and health conditions from tar sands. It will outline examples of some of the research being conducted:
1.1 Air Pollution
Tar sands air pollution is rapidly increasing. A variety of air contaminants in Canada are emitted throughout the tar sands development procedure.
1.2 Soil Pollution
Tar Sand production wastes, which may contain toxic chemicals, have the possible to reason soil pollution. Produced water which may contain contaminants is often stored in land and after biochemical procedure it can kill vegetation and effect human health. That water can move down throughout the top soil and pollute groundwater also ground soil, or move up through the soil and be circulated to air.
1.3 Water Pollution
The processing of tar sands requires huge quantities of water and from this tar sands’ toxic chemicals can release into drinking water supplies. Storm water can contact with tar sands toxic material and runoff into close by rivers.
1.4 Human Health
Toxic substance of tar sands in the air is able to reason momentary breathing complexity for group with asthma, and long time contact with elevated levels of these materials lead to respiratory sickness heart disease. In addition, health providers verified some cases of cholangiocarcinoma, an uncommon malignant tumor of the bile duct also a high numbers of colorectal and gastrointestinal cancers.
Combustion products derived from the processing of tar sand are undeniably capable of producing adverse health effects. Tar sand environmental pollution caused by proces of preparation is a universal health hazard, mainly for women and immature kids. Producing this material is responsible for disability and mortality worldwide.
This paper will discuss the environmental and health effects of the Tar Sands, in terms of emissions as well as the environmental impacts of the tar sands industry itself.
Oil sand operations consume and pollute air, land and water systems. These have previously accumulated in toxic tailings lakes; as a result the use of tar sands for energy contributes to a number of ecological and health issues in Canada.
This record is an attempt to clarify effect of tar sands and explain outcome of tar sands for Canadian newcomers because the majority of immigrants do not have enough information about tar sands and their effects to environment and wellbeing.
Alberta, Canada, is home to the biggest recognized oil sands deposits, underlying of boreal forests. Over the earlier period, oil organizations have changed their concentration to oil sands, that are a combination of sand, water, and a heavy, viscous hydrocarbon called bitumen that can be transformed into oil. Nevertheless, oil sands present worrying questions in terms of the effects linked with their expansion.
3.0 The Problem with Tar Sands
3.1 Health impacts from the Tar Sands
According to Canadian mission and vision, Health Canada’s goal is for Canada to be among the countries with the healthiest people in the world; On the other hand the tar sand affects negatively people’s health. One of the problems on Canadian health is the gigantic Alberta Tar Sands plan. The Canadian leaderships are disregarding the great health, social, and environmental costs of the tar sands to peopl.
According to Wong (2009) Dr. John O’Connor “exposed alarming cancer rates in the downstream community of Fort Chipewyan”. He verified some cases of cholangiocarcinoma an uncommon malignant tumor of the bile duct that usually acts on one in 100,000 citizens. He also saw a high numbers of colorectal and gastrointestinal cancers.
According to the web page No Dirty Energy (2008) “a 2006 research by Suncor discovered elevated arsenic levels in moose 453 times higher than the acceptable level in terms of cancer risk”. No Dirty Energy also states that the Alberta government research found arsenic levels to be “17 – 33 times higher than the acceptable level in moose meat”. Besides, the analyses detected that “all wild meat may have unacceptably high levels of toxin which is cause of cancer”.
According to the Environmental Integrity Project (2008), “cleansing additional heavy sour crude oil extracted from tar sands will lead to pollutants such as hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfuric acid mist as well as nickel and lead compounds, which are serious cause of health conditions”. According to EPA (2008), sulfur dioxide in the air causes momentary breathing complexity for groups with asthma, and long time contact with elevated levels of SO2 leads to respiratory sickness and heart disease.
One more foundation of toxic waste that presents a concern for the nation is the existence close to tar sands refineries. Piles of petroleum coke, which is a by-product of refining tar sands bitumen. In most cases coke is reserved in open-air heaps. According to an LA Times editorial, researchers have exposed a relationship between elevated levels of coke dust in the atmosphere and the deaths of individuals with respiratory and heart disease.
In addition, the toxic tailings ponds result in a physical condition that impacts the ecological risks from the migration of cancer causing contaminative throughout the groundwater structure because of the penetration of them to the nearby soil and surface water. The tailings ponds include polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, naphthenic acids and heavy metals. A lot of them are considered as a possibility for carcinogens effect. The degrees of these carcinogens in rivers, canals and sediments are gradually increasing.
3.2 Air Pollutions from the Tar Sands
According to the web page Prevent Cancer (2009) “Production requires polluting 2 to 5 barrels of fresh water to produce 1 barrel of oil. Fresh water is turned into toxic tailing ponds. Tar Sands operations are licensed to divert 349 million cubic meters of water per year from the Athabasca River – twice the amount of water used by the City of Calgary. At least 90% of this water ends up in toxic tailings ponds, which already cover more than 50 square kilometers and can be seen from space. Industry’s own data reveals that waste from the tar sands increases cancer causing pollutants in downstream water. Indigenous people living downstream are now suffering many serious adverse health effects, including elevated cancer rates. Tar Sands oil produces three times more greenhouse gas emissions than a conventional barrel of oil. The Tar Sands are the single fastest growing source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Canada and will constitute roughly 50% of the increase in overall Canadian GHG emissions between 1990 and 2012.” Even though ecological violence is happening in Northern Alberta, so it attacks the entire population of Canada, because tar Sands oil makes three times more greenhouse gas emissions than a conventional barrel of oil.
At this moment there are strategies to create new tar sands upgraders in Alberta’s “Industrial Heartland,” which is a region situated northeast of Edmonton. Individuals existing in the region are previously worried about their feature of existence, which includes loss of farming lands, traffic overcrowding, and air quality. The latest upgraders will make more destructive pollutants into their atmosphere – pollutants include volatile organic compounds, sulfur dioxide, and hydrogen sulfide and nitrogen oxides. According to the Pembina Institute, under a plan conceived by the Alberta government the concentrations of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides will be allowed to increase by 30–40% above current levels in the Industrial Heartland. These allowable increases will lead to a further deterioration of air quality in the Industrial Heartland — air that is already the worst of the 11 stations that report an Air Quality Index in the province.
3.3 Water Pollutions from the Tar Sands
Numerous different pollutants can damage rivers, streams, lakes and oceans. Water is a valuable and limited natural source. Canadians are providential to be encircled by fresh water. According to Calproject web page (2007) “Tar sands development requires an enormous amount of water – current projects remove about 349 million m3 of water from the Athabasca River each year, equivalent to about 140,000 swimming pools or twice the amount of water the City of Calgary uses per year. Tar sands’ water allocations accounts for 65% of the water withdrawals from the Athabasca River every year. These water use requirements are resulting in lower water levels in freshwater aquifers, rivers, streams, lakes, ponds and wetlands. Oil sands development is the largest user of groundwater in Alberta. Two to four and a half barrels of water are used to produce one barrel of oil. For In Situ extraction alone, 24,000 m3 of water will be needed DAILY for steam production and processing. Oil sands corporations maintain that their water use is reasonable because they have been improving rates of recycling. Much of the water used ends up in tailing ponds.” Nevertheless, a great deal of the water used ends up in tailings ponds and that might leak toxic material into the water structure.
Massive amounts of water are needed to force the tar-like substance from the surrounding earth. Tar sands corporations are at present using huge amount of water from rivers. Tar sands activities create great volumes of toxins mixed with water. Unbelievably, production of one barrel of oil in the tar sands makes two barrels of toxic waste.
According to the web page Prevent Cancer Now (2009) “The Tar Sands, which underlie approximately 150,000 square kilometres of pristine Boreal Forest are one of the biggest social and ecological challenges facing Canada and North America, fuelling climate change, destroying pristine boreal forest, and drying up important river systems.” Industry’s own information reveals that misuse from the tar sands extends cancer causing pollutants in downstream water. Native citizens living downstream are at the present suffering several serious unpleasant health effects, including high cancer rates.
3.4 Land Pollutions from the Tar Sands
Land pollution is the accumulation of unwanted matter to the land that damages the terrestrial organisms, decreases the uses of the ground by people for farming, residential, recreational or other purposes. It also increases the risk of health hazards to individuals. The expansion of tar sands unearths hydrocarbons and releases toxins into the surroundings and atmosphere. Employees and communities existing close to the factory are at risk.
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Mikisew Cree First Nation, which lives with the downstream impacts of the tar sands development, has articulated concerns regarding water pollution, toxic waste administration, a decrease in animals’ populations, and loss of fish environment.
According to the web page No Dirty Energy (2008), “In November, 2007, an independent consultant hired by the Fort Chipewyan First Nation found high levels of arsenic in the waters of the Peace-Athabasca Delta near Fort Chipewyan; fish that were contaminated with high levels of mercury; and levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons considered unsafe to aquatic life. Contaminants were not only found in fish, but also in waterfowl, muskrat, beavers, and moose — all of which are traditional food sources for the community.”
The tar sands underlie an area of Canada’s Boreal Forest. At 1.4 billion acres, Canada’s Boreal Forest is one of the biggest unharmed forests lasting on globe. Canada’s Boreal Forest provides habitat for some of the world’s biggest populations of wildlife such as grizzly bear, lynx, wolves, and moose, and is home to unique and endangered species like the woodland caribou and the Whooping Crane. Its trees and wetlands give essential breeding grounds for a lot of songbirds and waterfowl; nearly 50 percent of North America’s bird sorts needed the Boreal for their continued existence. Moreover, the Boreal shields people against global warming by storing vast quantities of carbon in its wetlands, plants and soils. On condition designed tar sands plans are performed, nearly 140,000 square kilometers of Canada’s Boreal Forest would be damaged into a spider’s web of road or rail network and pipelines.
The real prospect progress of tar sands projects on lands identified that this kind of energy impacts on the surroundings location. However, there are some issues that should be under attention, these include the water and air value purports, independence purports, the treaty-rights purports, the human-rights abuses, the human and environmental health disaster, the climate-change implications, the climate-change purports and as well as the ethnic dominion. People living around the tar sands projects are alarmed about the effects of tar sands on their health. As tar sands enlargement has been speeding up over the earlier period, people have known larger incidences of malignancy and illness.
– Replacing tar sands could establish the enormous challenge. This is coronial process and none are at once obtainable at the scale needed.
– Existing and new-fangled tar sands oil evolutions ought to considerably decrease their greenhouse gas emissions.
– Reducing the need for transportation and usage of water for lower emissions.
– Generating energy from wind, solar, geothermal and new renewable sources.
– Ending toxic emissions to water, land and air.
– Utilizing greatest potential technologies in order to moderate toxic emissions.
– Eliminated wet tailings ponds and they must properly disposed of as hazardous waste.
– Using superlative administration practices.
– Developing technology for decreasing toxic pollution and reduces harmful emissions and pollutants.
– Reducing the amount of harmful emissions produced.
– Reducing the release of toxic chemicals in area wherever citizens exist, to keep public healthiness.
– Regarding human rights and native society needs.
– Reporting on development and observe emissions.
– Defending wildlife territory and compensating for Boreal Forest destruction.
– Holding fabrication responsible to decrease their use of toxic materials.
– Boreal birds, Tar Sands, Retrieved October 01. 2009
– Cal project, Tar Sands and Water, Retrieved October 01. 2009, http://www.calproject.org/TarSands/Water.doc
– Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP), tar sands and health, Retrieved October 01. 2009, http://www.ehponline.org/members/2009/117-4/EHP117pa150PDF.PDF
– No dirty energy, Public Health Impacts of Tar Sands, Retrieved October 01. 2009,http://www.nodirtyenergy.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=113&Itemid=162, and
– Oil Shale & Tar Sands Programmatic IES, About Tar Sands, Retrieved October 01. 2009, http://ostseis.anl.gov/guide/tarsands/index.cfm
– Prevent Cancer Now, Canaries in the tar-sand mines, Retrieved October 01. 2009, http://preventcancernow.ca/canaries-in-the-tar-sand-mines
– Stop Tar Sands Operations Permanently, Threats, Retrieved October 01. 2009, http://stoptarsands.wordpress.com/threats/
– The Encyclopedia of Earth, Oil Sands Development, A Health Risk Worth Taking,Retrieved:October01.2009, http://www.eoearth.org/article/Oil_sands_development
 Cholangiocarcinoma is a cancer of the bile ducts which drain bile from the liver into the small intestine.
 That is, levels could lead to 453 additional cases of cancer for every 100,000 residents.
 Large pools of toxic water and mining waste
 An area the size of Florida
 35 million acres
 According to Boreal birds web page (2009) “This will reduce the vast amounts of water that are currently being withdrawn from Alberta’s rivers, stem the leaching of hazardous pollution into the groundwater, and reduce pollution.”