A recent study discovered that the level of pollution from Canadian tar sands is significantly higher, reaching up to 6,300% more than previously reported.

A recent study discovered that the level of pollution from Canadian tar sands is significantly higher, reaching up to 6,300% more than previously reported.

A recent study has revealed that the harmful pollutants emitted from the Canadian tar sands, which are already considered one of the most environmentally damaging sources of fuel, have been significantly underestimated.

An article in Science revealed that air pollution from the expansive Athabasca oil sands in Canada surpasses the emissions reported by the industry at the examined sites by an astonishing 1,900% to 6,300%.

Researchers stated that this indicates that harmful reactive pollutants produced by the oil sands have a similar impact on the environment as those from all other human activities throughout Canada, resulting in significant health consequences.

Keith Stewart, a senior energy strategist at Greenpeace Canada, stated that the recent findings on the concerning levels of air pollution caused by oil sands operations have confirmed the longstanding concerns raised by Indigenous communities living downwind. He believes that this pollution is directly impacting people’s health and that the government should hold these companies accountable by using their substantial profits to address the environmental damage they have caused.

The oil sands in Canada, also known as tar sands, are a vast location where oil is extracted in the province of Alberta. They span an area larger than England and are considered one of the largest industrial projects in the world. This year, there has been a significant increase in production levels at this site.

The specific oil found in the tar sands is referred to as “bitumen”. It is highly dense and poses challenges for extraction. The process of retrieving it from deep underground requires a significant amount of water, comparable to that of a small city’s daily usage. Further water and energy resources are necessary for refining it for commercial purposes. Additionally, the amount of greenhouse gases released per barrel of tar sands oil can be up to 30% greater than traditional oil.

On Thursday, a study was released that highlights the extent of air pollution resulting from this process. By utilizing aircraft to measure pollutants, researchers discovered a significant amount of organic compounds that are not detected by conventional methods of assessing air pollution. This has serious implications for public health.

For many years, native populations in the area have voiced concerns about the detrimental effects on health from the polluted air resulting from activities in the oil sands industry.

According to Jesse Cardinal, a member of the group Keepers of the Water, the report validates the long-standing experiences of numerous communities.

According to reports, the conditions in these areas are deemed acceptable and within the set limits. However, the experiences of the communities living there suggest otherwise. The air quality is so poor that residents are unable to open their windows, as it causes discomfort and even harm to their lungs, particularly at night.

The scientists analyzed the greenhouse gas emissions produced by both surface mining and extraction from deeper bitumen deposits.

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They highlighted the significance of properly managing waste after extraction, including practices like “tailings processing” where harmful sediment is allowed to dry.

According to John Liggio, one of the researchers involved in the study, recent measurements taken on a research aircraft have shown that emissions of total reactive organic chemicals have been significantly underestimated. In fact, the emissions were found to be 1900% to over 6300% higher than previously thought. These underestimated emissions were not only observed at surface mining operations, but also at in situ extraction facilities, which make up over 50% of production and are projected to increase in the future.

The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Canada has been reached out to for a statement.

Source: theguardian.com