Water Pollution Objectives Essay

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Canada is the second well-known country for its best quality of water among other countries where it has about 20 percent of the world’s freshwater.1 From the quality of safe drinking water, it made the list under one of the public health achievements. Canada’s public health policies helped to protect the community’s health by reducing contamination in water. However, the country still faced challenges from experiencing issues around 288 cases of water-borne disease from 1974 to 2001.2 Water-borne diseases outbreaks and water quality issues came to attention to take action to govern the drinking water and the public health. The poor quality of water caused by the government’s actions of poor management which led to about 7 deaths and 7000 people ill from the outbreaks that occurred in Walkerton, Ontario and North Battleford, Saskatchewan combined.3 However, many of these cases are occurring less now due to improvements in safe drinking water programs and establishing guidelines from events after the Walkerton outbreak in 2000. The purpose of this report is to discuss how the quality of drinking water has improved throughout time in Canada and how water management could be strengthened to avoid waterborne disease outbreaks in the future.

The water quality has improved so much in Canada where it’s rewarded under the public health achievements. Many of these achievements started from a major outbreak in the public where new policies were introduced to follow through. The health issue was first identified back in the early 20th century when water was getting contaminated by human waste. The municipal government took control by starting to install sewage systems across Canada and designed to remove waste such as human wastes and waterborne from industrial effluent and toxic chemicals to avoid contamination and possible other types of diseases.5 However, a huge outbreak occurred in 1911 where typhoid fever epidemic was found in Ottawa.4 This gained attention to improve the sanitation systems and water quality by using chlorination since it was successfully introduced in United States in 1908 at Jersey City. Toronto was first to introduce chlorine in the municipal control.5 This was very successful because it didn’t just cut the typhoid incidence but other types of waterborne diseases.4 The use of chlorination increased during the 1920s and many health managements used it to keep up the water quality clean. Furthermore, during the typhoid outbreaks, an important person known as Senator Napoleon Belcourt successfully saved populations that were near sewage contamination to avoid getting ill. He also addressed later a claim that Canadians should receive safe drinking water because it’s a human right.6 After in the post-war reconstruction era, the provincial and federal took responsible to fund and develop water and sewage infrastructure across Canada.7 In Ontario during 1945, a city called Bradford began a water fluoridation experiment, which was a huge success because many Canadians oral health improved.4

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It’s important to point out that in the 1950s, when provincial agencies took control for pollution control by taking responsible to keep the water quality safe. Many premiers like public health care pioneer T.C. Douglas wanted the Prime Minister St.Laurent to take first action to help with water pollution. Many organizations such as British Columbia’s Pollution Control Board, Ontario Water Resources Commission and even environmental public groups were also formed to help with politicians to strike to change water polices and management.8 From the success, Health Canada published the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality4 which provides any treatments techniques to keep drinking water safe. Even though, the guidelines are from all levels of the government, it’s the federal government who takes responsible to make sure the health of Canadians safe. It’s important to point that in 1970s, the government established the Canada Waters Act (CWA). This act is responsible to let people know about water resource management and to act when it becomes a national concern. In the 1980s, The Federal Water Policy was introduced, and the overall idea is to protect and improve safe quality of water and using the management and use of water wisely.9

Later in the early 2000s, a major outbreak occurred in Walkerton, North Battleford and Kashechewan where the drinking water got contaminated with E. coli killing seven people and many more ill.10 Justice Dennis R. O’Connor and the Commission proposed a report recommendation for improvements which the province of Ontario accepted. He concluded that the standards of quality drinking water “should have the force of law” and added how these standards are vital for a multi barrier approach to the safety of water. From today, the federal government recommends a multi barrier approach to safe drinking water management since then there hasn’t been any major waterborne diseases outbreak in Canada which is a huge success.3 The implementation has been successful because in 1991, 30 cases of waterborne outbreaks occurred across Canada which was the highest reported since then the rate decreased by improving the system to only 1 or 2 cases in the early 2000s.2 Moreover, since the guidelines being established, the issue improved more with no major outbreaks since 2001. The morality rates also decreased from only 7 deaths and 2500 people ill from the Walkerton outbreak and after the guidelines being established, there were only people who were ill from the cause, and no deaths reported from the North Battleford case.3 Therefore, the major outbreak in Walkerton was a failure but also a place to improve the water quality system.

The water issue in Kashechewan took action quickly by evacuating people before they got ill more.2 However, the implementation is contentious since many people like First Nations communities still don’t receive the same level of government help as the rest of the residents in Canada. However, the implementation was successful for Non-First Nations since they receive a higher public attention to get the treatment, they need compared to the values needed from First Nations. Also, the positive impact has been long-lasting since there hasn’t been any outbreak after the Walkerton incident. However, it’s still not universal since First Nations are struggling to receive quality of water and proper water management. Even though, the guidelines address to help First Nations on safe water quality, it still lacks on covering all elements and tend to give them less public health standard compared to Non-First Nations.3 Another critique is many small communities in Canada with less than 5000 population don’t have proper water facilities to maintain safe water. Many of these communities are most likely be in risk because they lack people to work to keep up water infrastructure and repairing.11 It was reported by Schuster that 34 % of the outbreak occurred in public water serving populations that were less than 5000.12 For instance, the Walkerton outbreak was a small community with less than 5000 residents and because of the poor management it led to a huge outbreak.

In conclusion, the overall water quality in Canada is stable from the improvements overtime. All of the major issues of water quality in Canada have taken action and well protected by reducing contamination in water. Also, the mortality and number of outbreaks decreased after the incident in 2001. The use of chlorination is the key impact for Canada to keep water quality clean by decreasing bacteria pathogens.5 It is recommended that Canada should continue strengthening to avoid future outbreaks by providing funding for drinking water infrastructure especially increase funding for First Nations. Also, federal government should fund to develop a real-time continuous monitoring of water treatment to receive warnings early when the system goes under failure. Another recommendation is Canada should establish long term targets to reduce water pollution by making sure the progress is made and the government is responsible to help. Lastly, it should be noted that government should fund for research and educational programs for the public to be informed about the public health polices and action.13

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Water Pollution Objectives Essay. (2022, November 25). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 23, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/water-pollution-objectives-essay/
“Water Pollution Objectives Essay.” Edubirdie, 25 Nov. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/water-pollution-objectives-essay/
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Water Pollution Objectives Essay [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Nov 25 [cited 2024 Jul 23]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/water-pollution-objectives-essay/
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