Air Pollution

Industrial Polluters Dump Dust Storm on East Hamilton

By Jason Leach
Published April 28, 2009

Once again our largest polluters are damaging the health of residents in East Hamilton, in what has sadly become a common routine in this city.

A black dust storm that struck a part of the Hamilton Beach Strip produced pollution readings 19 times the provincial standard.

Data obtained by Environment Hamilton indicate the fine particulate pollution from the storm hit a level of 970 micrograms per cubic metre of air. Standards for a 24-hour concentration from the province and the World Health Organization are 50 micrograms per cubic metre.


The Environment Ministry is investigating the industrial source of the dust. It has taken samples for lab analysis.

While regular folks like you and I use push mowers, drive less, avoid toxic plastics to carry our groceries or water, and watch what we eat more closely than ever, the big industrial polluters continue to dump toxins into homes, hearts and lungs all across the city.

As is always the case, some laughable investigation will take place, the Ministry and industrial plants along the harbourfront will all say "we can't figure out where the mess came from" and that will be the end of it.

Folks along the Beach and NE residential neighbourhoods in Hamilton have put up with these dust storms of coal, sand and stone particles for decades now. Despite all the platitudes from various levels of government about improving health and cracking down on large polluters, these massive storage piles of raw material sit uncovered along Burlington Street and the harbourfront.

We're looking for hundreds of millions from the public to clean our harbour, yet won't force these massive companies to pay thousands to stick up a tent, shed or bubble system to store their raw material along the same harbour shoreline.

As is always the case, you and I commit to doing a million acts of green, while our large industries continue to perform a million acts of pollution.

Perhaps I can use my cloth shopping bag to cover my face as I walk through Hamilton this summer. Couldn't do that with plastic.

Jason Leach was born and raised in the Hammer and currently lives downtown with his wife and children. You can follow him on twitter.


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By A.N. Other (anonymous) | Posted April 28, 2009 at 11:55:24

My wife and I lived near the beach strip some years ago. We regularly experienced these grit swirls you describe. In fact, they left our lawn furniture pockmarked with small chunks of oily goop. It was all over. Hard to believe they're still getting away with this.

How long before masks are considered just common sense?

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By LL (registered) - website | Posted April 28, 2009 at 12:52:55

LOL. Good analysis of the often irrational nature of "common sense".

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By because (anonymous) | Posted April 28, 2009 at 16:31:32

It all has to do with the lack of Leadership in this city.
Whether it be from our leadership-impaired good-hearted Mayor, our kindergarden-minded City Council, or the self-absorbed Provincial & Federal MPs, we're screwed!

It's high time we stop blaming our pollution on Detroit, Toledo & Cleveland and own up in order to CLEAN THIS CITY UP!

No wonder Hamiltonians can't be proud of their City.

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