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SIX THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED!
According to the Ministry of Natural Resources web site, that’s how many pits and quarries we had operational in Ontario in 2010. Many more have been added since. And, according to the MNR’s own data system, ALPS, we have more than 60 years of aggregate supply available to us in already-existing pits. Some experts, like Dr. Larry Jensen, put the number even higher, at 120 years!
But, surprisingly, based on the MNR’s own 2010 statistics, the Ontario Aggregate Industry as a whole only committed 7 offenses in 2010 that resulted in a financial penalty or fine. That’s down from an incredibly low 22 offenses in 2006.
The offenses-to-pits ratio didn’t even register on my calculator. It was just too low.
So we’re wondering … Is our Aggregate Industry on a par with or, dare we say, have a safety and adherence performance rating better than other large industrial operations, like say….NASA?
Well, when you think about it, NASA uses huge bulky industrial types of equipment to reach their objectives through brute strength, while risking the lives and livelihoods of the people around them due to their lack of an exact science to accomplish their chosen tasks, and without the support of the people whose lives they disrupt and possible destroy.
Oh, wait a minute…. I have them confused. That’s the Ontario Aggregate Industry I’m describing.
So…how is it possible that the MNR inspectors, who are paid by the citizens of Ontario to protect us from industrial mismanagement and the carelessness of such large operations, hand out far fewer then one infraction each in the space of an entire year?
Could it be they don’t actually get out to inspect the pits? And even when they do get around to an inspection (like once every 5 years or more) they give advance warning so the site can be ‘sanitized’.
Could it be they are quite content giving warnings instead of punishing the misdeeds? I mean, no sense rocking the proverbial “gravy” boat!
Could it be they are too cozy with the Industry they are supposed to be monitoring?
We’re talking about “OUR” inspectors checking massive holes in the ground, blasted and dug by heavy equipment for the purpose of moving thousands of tons of aggregate, while spewing toxic dust and small particles into the air, and potentially contaminating our water supply.
7 offenses in 6500 pits and quarries for 2010 !!! No kidding.
This is not NASA rocket science you know!