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GLIN==> PRESS RELEASE: Ontarians expect aggressive action to protect the Great Lakes: New poll



Contact: Derek Stack, Great Lakes United, (613) 797-9532

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Ontarians expect aggressive action to protect the Great Lakes: New poll

A recent poll released by Great Lakes United shows that Ontarians see the Lakes as vital to our economy and way of life, with nine out of ten saying they are concerned with sewage and toxic pollution contaminating the food chain.

 

TORONTO, October 2 –  While Ontarians may be disheartened at the prospect of solving global warming, a majority feel that improving the health of Canada’s Great Lakes is an attainable goal that will help shield us from the impacts of global warming, like heat and drought.

 

Great Lakes United released a poll today that explores how Ontarians view the condition of the Great Lakes. With nine out of ten people describing the Great Lakes as vital to our survival and quality of life, Ontarians agree we all have a personal responsibility to leave the Great Lakes in good health for our children. 

 

“Millions of Ontarians and their kids, drink, bathe, and eat food grown with Great Lakes water. They identify with the Lakes and know them as a natural wonder of the world,” said Derek Stack, Executive Director of Great Lakes United. “They know that the cost of healing the ecosystem isn’t getting any cheaper, and they want their children to swim and play on clean beaches and in uncontaminated water.”

 

With a majority of Ontarians depending on the Great Lakes for daily drinking water, sewage overflow and toxic pollution in the food chain were overwhelmingly the leading concerns. Eight in ten (82%) of respondents are very concerned about sewage pollution and just over three in four (78%) are very concerned about toxic pollution to the food chain.

 

“Ontarians are looking to our federal and provincial governments for action”, said Stack.

 

Currently Ontario cities pump billions of litres of untreated sewage into the Great Lakes every year and commitments to clean up the province’s twelve most toxic hotspots (also known as Areas of Concern) have been ignored for decades.

 

“Ten of Ontario’s twelve internationally recognized toxic hotspots – places like the Niagara River, Hamilton Harbour, and Nipigon Bay – are no cleaner today than 30 years ago,” said Stack, adding, “Ontarians place high priority on funding to clean up toxic pollution in our beaches, rivers and lakes.” Eight in ten (79%) Ontarians say that they support of a federal investment of two billion dollars a year to restore the health of the Lakes. 

 

“There is a real opportunity here for the federal government to capture the interests of urban communities around the Great Lakes,” said Stack.

 

Recently, Great Lakes United and five other leading environmental groups published the Great Lakes Blueprint, a set of priorities for restoring the health of the Great Lakes.

 

Among the recommendations, the report calls for the establishment of a federal model sewer by-law, as well as a science-based standard for sewage treatment. The report also calls for established timelines for the clean-up and delisting of Canadian Areas of Concern.

 

For a complete list of recommendations, see the Great Lakes Blueprint online at www.glu.org.

 

Great Lakes United is also co-hosting an Ontario Environmental Priorities Debate on Wednesday, October 3 at the Isabel Bader Theatre in Toronto. The debate will span some of the most critical environmental issues of our time, including the Great Lakes.

 

Contact:

Derek Stack

Executive Director

Great Lakes United

(613) 797-9532

 

Methodology:

McAllister Opinion Research conducted this poll by telephone using random digit dial from June 26th to July 15th 2007 inclusive to a random sample of Ontarians aged 18+ that is representative of age, gender and region. A random sample of 1000 Ontarians would yield a margin of error of ±3.1%, 19 times out of 20. McAllister Opinion Research is an accredited member of ESOMAR (esomar.org) the international organization for professional researchers.  The firm conducts the Environmental Monitor research program, which has tracked Canadian environmental attitudes for over 20 years.  McAllister clients include government, industry and charities.

 

Appendix: Questions and Responses

 

Thinking of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence, please say if you are very concerned, somewhat, not very, or not at all concerned about the following issues:

 

 

Very

Some what

Not very

Not at all

DK/NA

Untreated sewage entering the Great Lakes

82

14

2

1

1

Contamination of the food chain by toxic pollution such as mercury

78

18

3

1

1

Loss of wetlands and animal habitat

67

26

4

2

1

Global warming

64

26

5

4

1

Invasive aquatic species, like zebra mussels

56

30

9

4

2

Radioactivity and waste from nuclear power plants near the Great Lakes

56

26

11

4

2

Overuse of water by industry

52

38

6

3

2

Piping Great Lakes water to communities outside of the Great Lakes ecosystem

45

36

10

5

4

 

How well do the following describe the Great Lakes to you? Des this describe the Great Lakes very well, somewhat, not very well or not at all?

 

 

Very Well

Some

what

Not very well

Not at all

DK/NA

Vital to our quality of life and survival

76

21

2

1

2

A national treasure

74

17

4

3

2

A place of beauty

72

23

3

1

1

Vital to our regional economy

71

22

3

2

2

Vulnerable

67

25

4

1

3

A legacy for our kids

63

21

10

5

2

A living ecosystem

63

25

6

2

4

A great place to be with family and friends

63

28

5

3

2

A major source of drinking water

60

21

7

5

7

A great place for fishing and recreation

45

34

10

6

5

Polluted

36

50

8

3

4

 


Some people want federal governments in Canada to invest a total of 2 billion dollars per year over the next ten years to restore the health of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.  Others say that there are other more important areas in which to this money. Do you favour or oppose spending 2 billion dollars per year for ten years to restore the health of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River?

 

Favour

78

Strongly favour

43

Somewhat favour

35

Somewhat oppose

8

Strongly oppose

6

Oppose

15

[VOLUNTEERED] DK/NA

7

 

Please tell me if you agree or disagree with the following statements:

 

 

Agree

Disagree

DK/NA

We all have a personal responsibility to leave the Great Lakes in good health for our children

99

1

*

Government spending to upgrade sewage and water systems in our province will create new jobs

89

8

4

The Great Lakes will help shield us from the impacts of global warming like HEAT and DROUGHT

72

20

8

What I do in my life does not impact the health of the Great Lakes

36

62

2

Selling water from the Great Lakes is a major economic opportunity for Canada

39

55

6

(S2) The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence are cleaner than they were 20 years ago

31

48

21

 

I am going to read a list of reasons to support spending Canadian tax dollars to clean up the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.  Please tell me if you think each one is a good reason or a poor reason to support spending money on a clean-up:

 

 

Very Good

Some what Good

Some what Poor

Very Poor

DK/NA

Over 10 million people in Ontario and Quebec get their drinking water from the Great Lakes every day

83

12

1

1

3

We should act now because problems in the Lakes will cost us more to fix in the future.

77

19

3

1

1

The Great Lakes represent one fifth of the world's fresh water supply

77

17

2

1

4

The health of the Great Lakes is key to the health of Canadians

70

25

3

1

1

(S2) Whatever goes into the Great Lakes ends up in the food chain and eventually in our bodies

72

19

6

2

2

Cities like Toronto release billions of litres of untreated raw sewage into the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River

71

14

4

4

7

Per facility, Canadian industry emits four times more chemicals than U.S. polluters.

51

20

8

8

13

Aquatic invasive species are costing the Canadian public hundreds of millions of dollars

46

30

10

4

9

 

###

 


Brent Gibson

Director, Communications

Great Lakes United

613-867-9861

bgibson@glu.org | http://www.glu.org