Compared with other heavily-used rivers of the world the Lower Fraser is still in relatively good health. However, its future is clouded with uncertainty. There is unmistakeable evidence that toxic materials, including lead, mercury, pesticides and PCB's are beginning to accumulate in the sediments and fish of the river. These pollutants not only enter the river from municipal sewage treatment plants and industry but also in the storm waters that run off urban lands. Their control will not be as simple as just more treatment, it will require much greater emphasis on regulation of the materials produced and used in society today.
If this valuable resource is to be preserved the administration of pollution control in the Lower Fraser must be strengthened by insuring that adequate information is generated about the health of the aquatic ecosystem and the sources of toxic materials. This might be done most effectively by the establishment of an Environmental Protection Committee and Secretariat in the Greater Vancouver Regional District and a source control programme in the Greater Vancouver Sewerage and Drainage District both of which would be funded by charges on waste dischargers.
These are some of the major conclusions of the Westwater Research Centre at the University of British Columbia, which were reported in a series of public lectures early in 1976. This book contains the texts of these lectures which summarize the results of a four year programme of physical, chemical, biological, economic and political research into pollution control in the Lower Fraser River.
About the author
Anthony H.J. Dorcey is an Assistant Director of the Westwater Research Centre. He has published a variety of articles on the design and implementation of water quality management policies.