Thank you to the Salmon Arm Observer for its front page news report (Jan. 24, 2018) concerning coal dust pollution from passing trains, and to Marijke Dake and her cohorts for bringing this to the attention of our local governments. However this is a serious issue warranting action by both the provincial and federal governments.
By law, companies such as coal exporters should not be allowed to transport goods without satisfactory protection for the public; in this case, physical covers, not just a surface spray which can be lost in transit, to prevent the spread of coal dust.
Contrary to common belief, we do not breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide.
We breathe in air including all its gases and airborne pollutants; and in the lungs, oxygen passes into the blood stream by linking on to hemoglobin, and in the lungs most of the pollutants will stay.
Although now accepted that smoking can cause lung cancer, it is not the lung’s only carcinogen, nor is cancer its only medical problem. Any pollutant is a potential threat. There is much evidence that coal mining and other toxic industries such as steel production increase lung disease conditions.
Also well known is that the “bottom line” dictates companies’ policies and practices; and countries too grow wealthy based on this. But a country’s greatest asset is a healthy population – with low medical costs an invaluable bonus.
Installing another spray station east of Salmon Arm is only a short term solution – and in fact if anywhere, it should be east of Revelstoke. More sensible and effective is physically covering the coal trucks with lids or tarpaulins, both of which are re-usable; while spraying with a chemical is not only not completely effective, but actually wasteful, using up a valuable resource material.