Global Insights: Lac-Mégantic, Quebec

By Marcelo Kawanami

Today our journey will take us to a place that is close to my heart. Back in 2009, I had the chance to live in Montreal to complete my studies and had the opportunity to visit the region of Parc National du Mont-Mégantic and its surroundings. Recently, the region was in the global spotlight due to a derailment that led to a tragic fire and explosion which destroyed almost half of the downtown area of Lac-Mégantic town.

Chaudière River

The environmental impacts caused by the accident are still hard to predict, according to specialists. Nevertheless, the oil leaking from the derailment has already contaminated both the town’s namesake lake and the Chaudière River. As we can observe in this picture on the right, crude oil from the Lac-Mégantic explosion flowed down the Chaudière River, threatening towns and ecosystems downstream.

Workers collecting crude oil from the lake Megantic

Some four million liters of contaminated river and lake water have been contained, officials say, but the site soil still needs to be cleaned or replaced, a work that can take up to a year.

 

The accident also impacted the local economy which relies strongly on tourism mainly during the summer season.

After some research I was very glad to discover that many organizations are supporting the clean-up process of the lake and fighting for the protection of the local environment. Gamiing is also part of this group and I would like to promote two organizations that are seriously fighting for the protection of Mégantic lakes and its ecosystem:

  • David Suzuki Foundation: join us in telling Prime Minister Stephen Harper that we will not tolerate compromising the safety of our communities and environment in the name of oil transport – http://action2.davidsuzuki.org/lac-megantic
  • Association pour la protection du lac Mégantic: local organization that promotes projects and actions in order to protect Lake Mégantic – http://aplm.lac-megantic.org/

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