Bring back our beaches

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This article, from The Next City, reviews the inadequate sewage treatment processes and the regulatory failures that have led to the closing of beaches across Canada. It documents the environmental benefits arising from the privatization of sewage treatment in England and Wales and examines the institutional changes responsible. It concludes that privatization, if done right, could clean up our beaches.

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Eliminating sewage pollution; reforming fisheries; siting controversial facilities

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Quebec’s bureaucrats don’t appreciate our findings. They complain that our recent study of sewage pollution in Quebec makes them look like they’re incompetent, or not doing their jobs. And no wonder. The study, by Environment Probe researcher Martin Nantel, points out that although Quebec has made considerable progress since the 1970s (when wastewater treatment facilities served less than two per cent of the population), 376 municipalities, representing 1.5 million people, still flush their sewage directly into lakes and rivers. When we released the study early this year, media interest created great consternation in government ranks. The Environment Minister is now demanding explanations from senior bureaucrats, who berate our uncompromising positions.

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