Concerning the information on the public health department’s report on atmospheric pollutants in Limoilou that was in the news this week, the Maritime Information Bureau would like to point out that the last dust episode dates from 2012 and that, since then, the Port of Quebec and its partners have invested in implementing mitigation measures.
Examples of mitigation measures for transshipment in the Port of Quebec:
- Complete network of ambient air particle monitoring equipment connected to the Port of Quebec’s alert system.
- Implementation of water cannons to force dust to settle on the ground.
- Implementation of new operating procedures: guidelines and, if need be, suspension of transshipping activities depending on wind force and direction; when possible, partition off activities, etc.
- Take weather conditions into account at all times in planning ship loading and unloading operations in order to control potential dust emissions. Stop operations if conditions are unfavourable.
- Take tides into account in planning ship loading and unloading operations in order to control potential particle emissions.
- 24/7 surveillance by the harbour master’s office using high-definition cameras focussed on the loading and unloading operations, which the harbour master can stop at any time.
- Patrols on Port of Quebec site at all times to detect and control environmental risks.
- Designated environment personnel and a person responsible, on behalf of the Port of Quebec, on duty on an ongoing basis to support surveillance and control efforts and, if need be, suspend the activities.
THE MIB also wishes to point out that the National Capital region’s public health department (Direction de la santé publique de la Capitale-Nationale – DSP) is a neutral organization whose role falls under that of the National Capital health and social services agency (Agence de la santé et des services sociaux de la Capitale-Nationale). Under the Act respecting health services and social services, the DSP’s Director, Dr. François Desbiens, is responsible, among other things, for identifying situations in his region likely to endanger public health and for ensuring that the necessary public protection measures are implemented. The DSP has recognized, qualified public health experts and researchers, works closely with the Agence de la santé et des services sociaux de la Capitale-Nationale and reaches a vast network of partners. It has all of the expertise required to assess the pollutants’ impacts on public health.