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BC Floodwaters Contaminated with Cocaine & Splenda
A Conversation with Dr. Peter Ross on the Fraser Valley Floodwaters Report
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Peter Ross about a report he co-authored. The report reveals the discovery of an "astounding diversity" of contaminants in the Fraser Valley following the November 2021 floods. The study identified 177 contaminants in the water, including cocaine, painkillers, pesticides, and sucralose, raising concerns about the health of fish habitat and the people in the area.
Dr. Ross's expertise as an ocean pollution expert who has published over 160 scientific articles and book chapters on pollutants in the oceans made for an engaging and enlightening discussion. He highlighted the primary pollutants of concern, including excessive nutrients, metals, hydrocarbons, and pesticides, and noted the impact of domestic and agricultural practices on the fish habitat in the region.
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Dr. Ross's work has had a significant impact on the field of ocean pollution and microplastics. He discovered that the region's killer whales are the most contaminated marine mammals in the world and reported on the widespread distribution of microplastics in the NE Pacific and Arctic oceans. As the founder of the Ocean Pollution Research Program and the Plastics Lab at Ocean Wise, he has advised industry, government, the G7, the European Union, and the OECD on priority pollutants and microplastics. In his new role as Senior Scientist at Raincoast Conservation Foundation, he is developing a new community-oriented Healthy Waters Program.
The impact of the report cannot be understated. The findings of the study raise concerns about the health of fish habitat and the people in the area. The presence of drugs, pesticides, and other contaminants in the water can have a significant impact on human health, wildlife, and the environment. The report serves as a call to action to address the root causes of water pollution in the region.
It was an honor to have Dr. Ross as a guest on the podcast and to learn about his groundbreaking research on ocean pollution and microplastics. His work is essential in raising awareness about the impact of human activities on the environment and informing policy decisions at the local, national, and international levels.