Residual and hazardous materials
For some years, a major challenge facing northern institutions has been the implementation of provincial regulations on residual and hazardous materials in Nunavik. Nunavik’s 14 villages alone generate 12,000 tonnes, or 122,000 cubic metres, of residual materials. More procedures are needed to recover these materials and appropriately manage hazardous waste.
Given that government residual and hazardous materials programs are not applicable in Nunavik, the KEAC has for many years supported and been involved in local, regional and provincial initiatives to promote awareness of the region’s specific environmental issues.
Residual Materials Management in Nunavik
The KEAC has been monitoring progress made by the Kativik Regional Government since 2010 to implement the Nunavik Residual Materials Management Plan The plan was developed in response to northern villages’ growing demand for environmental protections. The plan assesses and recommends ways to reduce, reuse, recycle and recover these materials in ways appropriate for Nunavik.
Recently, the chaire en éco-conseil at the Université de Québec à Chicoutimi (UQAC) was mandated by the MDDELCC to realize a study to gather missing data in order to acquire useful knowledge and identify relevant and sometimes innovative solutions to support local and regional environmental personnel in improving their techniques for residual material management. From the research undertaken, a document entitled Gestion des matières résiduelles en milieu nordique (management of residual material in a northern environment) was made public in October 2017 and of which Appendix 5 is available in English. In March 2018, the KEAC sent a letter to the MDDELCC to prioritize the issues related in that document.
Additionally, a working group on residual material management in Nunavik has been created and after being invited to participate, the KEAC attended a meeting in April 2018.
Hazardous Materials Awareness
In 2011 and again in 2016 the KEAC reached out to municipal, institutional and business representatives and the general public by distributing three different guides on how to manage hazardous materials in Nunavik, along with posters summarizing their content. To raise the general public’s awareness of hazardous domestic waste, a refrigerator magnet was produced with the chart that appears in the guide for the general public. In addition, an advertising campaign was aired on regional radio.
Mid-Canada Line Clean-Up Project
The KEAC has supported the third phase of the mid-Canada line clean-up project. The line consists of a network of Doppler radar and supply stations that stretches across Canada along the 55th parallel. More than 16,000 barrels remain on these sites, along with metal debris and buildings. The communities want full restoration of the abandoned sites.
Extended Producer Responsibility
The Regulation respecting the Recovery and Reclamation of Products by Enterprises was adopted by the Government of Québec in July 2011. The Regulation aims to reduce the quantities of residual materials being sent to landfills and to make enterprises and producers responsible for the recovery and reclamation of the products they market in the province, including electronics, paint, dry batteries, fluorescent bulbs and tubes as well as used oil, antifreeze, solvents and oil filters. Since 2014 the KEAC has been kept abreast of pilot-projects and collection events in Nunavik communities related to the regulation.
Aluminum Can Recycling
Recycling in Nunavik has long been an important issue for the KEAC. In 2008 and again in 2018, the KEAC funded the creation, production, and distribution of a poster to increase public awareness of the benefits of recycling in Nunavik. This poster was distributed and will be displayed in public spaces in all fourteen communities. The KEAC continues to corresponded with RECYC-QUÉBEC, Boissons Gazeuses Environnement and the Nunavik retailers concerning the state of aluminium can recycling in the region as well as the legal obligations regarding refundable containers of Nunavik retailers.
Single-Use Plastic Bags
In 2008, the KEAC provided technical assistance to the Northern Village of Kuujjuaq in passing a by-law that would ban single-use plastic shopping bags from the community. The by-law continues to be applied and respected by community members and businesses. Following this action, the KEAC funded the production and distribution of reusable grocery bags with the committee’s logo to each Nunavik community, encouraging them to pass a similar by-law.
In 2018, to mark the 10th anniversary of the by-law, the KEAC sent a letter to the Northern Villages to encourage them to pass a similar by-law in their community.
In 2005, 2006 and again in 2009, the KEAC assisted with the KRG-funded training program that provided Nunavik communities with information regarding in the handling, storage, and shipment of hazardous waste. The training program covered topics such as chemical hazards, emergency planning, hazardous waste identification, management practices and solutions, federal and provincial environmental regulations, preparation tasks for marine transportation and recycling and treatment options south of the region.
In 2007 the KEAC committed to funding the design of permanent hazardous waste signs for each of the communities’ solid waste disposal and recovery sites. These signs list and explain the various types of hazardous waste people bring to the landfill, or designated depots, and the dangers to both humans and the environment due to improper handling and storage. They also help indicate where each hazardous product could be stored, helping to better organize landfills and create proper storage areas for these materials.
From 2006-2009 the KEAC, with assistance from RECYC-Québec undertook to establish a recycling project for used tires in Nunavik by encouraging municipalities to take advantage of the Québec Program for the Integrated Management of Scrap Tires. Each of the 14 communities participated in the program during these years and some have continued to collect and ship tires to recovery facilities.
http://www.mddelcc.gouv.qc.ca/matieres/inter.htm (French only)