Geography In The News
Oil Sands in Canada
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Oil Sands in Canada
Athabasca oil sands are Canada's largest oil deposits. Canada exports oil to different countries including America. Currently, the major oil sources for America are The Alberta tar sands. These oil sands produce and supply more oil than any other source in Canada. The political and economic development of Canada is highly dependent on the oil industry of Alberta. CITATION STE19 \l 2057 (Leahy, 2019) Undoubtedly, Canada just cannot afford to lose this oil trade business as it produces around 460,000 jobs and approximately $20 billion into its economy annually. CITATION Can \l 2057 (Sands, 2019)
Besides the benefit it provides, the oil sand companies in Canada have some serious and harmful effects on the environment. The Alberta tar oil sands are located by the river of Athabasca. When the water from the river is transferred into the lake, it creates one of the most important ecosystems of freshwater. But, the sand of oil fields of Alberta contains a chemical, known as bitumen. Bitumen is often carried inside the pipelines. However, this chemical can easily spill and leak into the water, thus polluting the ecosystem. CITATION MAL18 \l 2057 (Mullin, 2018) Thus, the creatures living underwater in that ecosystem are highly affected. Thousands of ducks became the victims of this chemical in 2008 and therefore died. CITATION JOD10 \l 2057 (Sinemma, 2010)
Moreover, the increase in water pollution due to the waste coming from the oil sands has taken many precious human lives by spreading some life taking diseases like cancer and brain tumor. (Gosselin & Xu, 2010) These deaths revoked the attention of people and the oil sand companies were asked to test the quality of water and make the necessary changes to protect lives and the overall environment. However, surprisingly, the oil companies rejected this issue of pollution & continued their procedures to put the lives of the citizens in danger. The viewpoints, attitude, and behaviors of these oil sand companies are fully against the following three basic pillars of social teaching CITATION CAT \l 2057 (WASHINGTON):
Importance of life and grace of human beings
Fulfillment of rights and responsibility
Care for the creation of God
Due to this unexpected and surprising behavior of oil sand companies, the general public has to condemn and criticize their activities and try their best to produce improvements.
The oil companies, however, can make the excuse that they were not careful enough about their operating procedures, which caused the mixing of some toxic chemicals in the freshwater. Numerous people were getting sick after using the polluted water, made the water quality suspicious for the scientists as well as the general public. (Timoney, 2012) Afte reporting of this issue, it was expected that these companies will pause their businesses for some time and carry out proper investigation about the in, as it was very serious and had taken many precious lives. However, the companies repeatedly stated that the water was safe/clean and did not carry out any kind of investigation. They completely ignored the fact that people were dying due to the usage of polluted water. The only things that mattered to the companies were their reputation and the profit they were generating out of their businesses.
At this crucial time, the oil sand companies of Alberta, who are solely responsible for this issue, should come out and take the responsibility for resolving this problem. When the issue of polluted water was raised against them, the Alberta oil sand companies, instead of investigating the issue, made a comparison with an American electricity producing company. They stated that the production of electricity with the help of coal produces forty times the pollution than their own oil sands. The thought process and logic of these companies is shameful and disappointing.
Gosselin, P., Hrudey, S. E., Naeth, M. A., Plourde, A., Therrien, R., Van Der Kraak, G., & Xu, Z. (2010). Environmental and health impacts of Canada’s oil sands industry. Royal Society of Canada, Ottawa, ON, 438. (Gosselin & Xu, 2010)
BIBLIOGRAPHY Leahy, S. (2019, April 11). This is the world's most destructive oil operation—and it's growing. Retrieved from National Geographic: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/04/alberta-canadas-tar-sands-is-growing-but-indigenous-people-fight-back/
Mullin, M. (2018, January 30). What we know – and don’t know – about diluted bitumen. Retrieved from The Globe and Mail: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/what-we-know-and-dont-know-about-diluted-bitumen/article37799406/
Sands, C. O. (2019). Economic Contribution. Retrieved from Canada's Oil Sands: https://www.canadasoilsands.ca/en/explore-topics/economic-contribution
Sinemma, J. (2010, August 9). Bird death totals don't add up: study. Retrieved from EDMONTON JOURNAL: http://www.edmontonjournal.com/Bird+death+totals+study/3490514/story.html
WASHINGTON, C. C. (n.d.). Catholic Social Teaching. Retrieved from CATHOLIC COMMUNITY SERVICES: https://ccsww.org/about-us/catholic-social-teaching/
Timoney, K. (2012). Environmental and health impacts of Canada’s bitumen industry: in search of answers. (Timoney, 2012)
Remillard, C. (2011). Picturing environmental risk: The Canadian oil sands and the National Geographic. International Communication Gazette, 73(1-2), 127-143.
Smandych, R., & Kueneman, R. (2013). The Canadian-Alberta tar sands: A case study of state-corporate environmental crime. In Global Environmental Harm (pp. 105-127). Willan.
Kelly, E. N., Schindler, D. W., Hodson, P. V., Short, J. W., Radmanovich, R., & Nielsen, C. C. (2010). Oil sands development contributes elements toxic at low concentrations to the Athabasca River and its tributaries. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(37), 16178-16183.
Percy, K. E. (2012). Alberta oil sands: Energy, industry and the environment (Vol. 11). Newnes.
Finkel, M. L. (2018). The impact of oil sands on the environment and health. Current Opinion in Environmental Science & Health, 3, 52-55.
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