I enjoy pretty much everything there is that has to do with the outdoors. Some of my most peaceful moments have been while walking through the forest, sitting on a beach, or boating (minus the loud engine). Accordingly I have a great respect for nature and enjoy learning about the plants and wildlife therein. My plan is to continue that learning process and hopefully enhance it by sharing what I learn. I intend for this blog to serve many purposes, but in the immediate future it will be a place for me, and hopefully others, to share ideas about reducing our individual impact on this planet, protecting wild spaces, and in general just to comment on the things we enjoy most in the great outdoors. I welcome all opinions as otherwise you cannot consider every aspect of a subject. However, I would ask that every opinion be expressed in a respectful way and considered with an open mind. Often there is no single right answer. Thanks.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Impact of Medications on the Environment

I started this post a few weeks ago and was reminded that I needed to finish it when I attended an all-candidates meeting in Saanich last Thursday.  Saanich, where I live, is one of thirteen municipalities included in the Greater Victoria Capital Regional District.  Long story short several years ago the Province of British Columbia mandated that the Capital Regional District (CRD) must build sewage treatment facilities.  This has fuelled a more public debate over the last couple of years about whether sewage treatment is required or not.  Treating sewage and not sending filtered waste directly into the ocean might seem like an obvious conclusion, but one of the points brought up by opponents is that we are blessed with ocean currents that carry our "organic waste" away from shore and, I suppose, sufficiently dilute it so that it does not cause contamination.  It seems rather far fetched given that it has to end up somewhere, but I am not a scientist.

Now back to the all-candidates meeting.  Inevitably a sewage treatment question came up and one of the candidates brought up a point I had not previously considered. If our waste were actually only organic waste then it might not be so bad.  However, our waste is polluted with such an incredible amount of chemicals that it really cannot be considered organic.  One example is the copious amounts of medications that we humans ingest on a daily basis.  Think birth control pills, antibiotics, cold medications, anti-inflammatories, and any other prescribed, or over the counter medications you see at the pharmacy.  Not only are these chemicals making their way through our waste water systems, where there is rarely enough treatment to get the chemicals out before they make their way into other water systems, but also many people still dispose of these medications improperly.