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Grassy Narrows declares a state of emergency over poor water quality

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On August 27, 2015, the First Nations community of Grassy Narrows declared a state of emergency over unsafe drinking water.

This only compounds the effects of decades only mercury poisoning of its water system, further poisoning the people of the territory.

Bottled water delivery has already begun to help ease the crisis for residents.

Of course it's not only the people who risk being poisoned but also the plants and animals of the territory -- either because they are hunted and gathered and then consumed by humans, but also because Mother Earth and its living waters and forests, as well.

Drinking water tested by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment found turbidity at a level 120 times the safety limit. Also found were high levels of chemicals that are considered carcinogenic.

Grassy Narrows is a community in resistance as they have fought for the right to clean water for years; the whole area had already been under a boil water advisory for the past year but this strategy does not have the ability to remove possible carcinogens.

Grassy Narrows hosts the longest running blockade on Canadian soil as they try and protect their territory’s resources from exploitation and ruin.

Of issue is not only the mercury poisoning from defunct industry that has led to Minimata disease among generations of residents but also the poisonous effects of clear cutting, further dump mercury and other chemicals into the river system.

According to a 2005 report, while eighteen per cent of fish are unsafe to eat around unlogged lakes, one hundred per cent are unsafe to eat around logged lakes. 

In a community that not only relies on the water, but the plant life and game found on their traditional treaty three territory, animals hunted have been found to contain tumours in their bodies.

This is yet another way that the community of Grassy Narrows has been poisoning, not only by pollution but by government neglect to act upon these serious environmental issues. 

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*Photo Grassynarrows.ca

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