50 years of government failure on Grassy Narrows mercury contamination

Grassy Narrows is a small community on a First Nations Reserve, located about 2,000 KMS northwest of Toronto. Its population is about 1,000. For the past 50 years, a deadly problem of mercury contamination of the two rivers in the area has persisted there. The mercury was released by a paper mill that is located upstream of Grassy Narrows. This has caused severe problems to three generations of First Nations who live there. The mercury contaminated water has caused debilitating health issues  for the people & made the fish inedible.

In 2017, the Kathleen Wynne government announced an $85 million plan to decontaminate the rivers (English and Wabogoon). The plan was funded and the amount was set aside in a trust. A panel was formed to implement the plan. It includes representatives from the Ontario government as well as from two First Nations Reserves, at Grassy Narrows and Wabaseemoong. The law requires this panel to submit a yearly report latest by June 01, and also requires the government to publish it. The report for the year 2020-2021 has not yet been published. Efforts to find out why have been futile for 8 weeks.

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