CONTAMINATED SOIL MANAGEMENT
SOIL TRACEABILITY PROGRAM
To ensure that soil decontamination companies follow the decontamination process rather than dump toxic soils into the wild, the Quebec Green Party supports the Quebec government's pilot program which uses GPS data to trace the soil from the contaminated site right to the decontamination company. This is a step in the right direction, and the program should be enhanced and implemented throughout the Quebec decontamination industry to ensure its integrity. The Ministry of the Environment should also take inventory of soils and contaminated sites throughout Quebec and share the information with the public.
MANAGEMENT OF CONTAMINATED SITES
Across Quebec, thousands of contaminated sites lie abandoned. These sites emit toxins into groundwater and into the air, and spread in the environment to the detriment of ecosystems. Some pollutants remain in the environment for hundreds or even thousands of years. Currently, site owners are reluctant to invest the money needed for decontamination, and the provincial government rarely funds decontamination efforts regardless of the circumstances or magnitude of the threat to the environment. These circumstances mean that toxic legacies are left in place for future generations to clean up, which represents a source of intergenerational inequity that must be addressed as quickly as possible. Some studies estimate the share of ecological debt related to contaminated soils in Quebec at above $3 billion. Funding for the management of contaminated soils should be shared by the owners of the sites, the companies involved (if they still exist) and the state as a last resort. However, disputes over cost sharing should not slow down decontamination efforts, which may proceed even if an agreement is not reached between the parties concerned before the work begins.