Now that Nova Scotia Health and Wellness Minister Leo Glavine has acknowledged the Northern Pulp mill in Pictou County is a health concern, more residents are speaking out about how the mill has impacted their quality of life.
The Maritime Oddfellows' home is a nursing home near the mill and residents say they often can’t go outside because of the haze.
Doris Beaton has been at the home five years and says normally she has many friends who keep her company. But lately, she's been feeling isolated because she often can't go outside.
She even resorts to putting a blanket over her window.
“It still comes in but not as bad," she says.
Staff at Oddfellows' say it really depends which way the wind blows. For most of the summer, the plume has been blowing toward downtown Pictou.
On those days when it blankets the home, staff say it's the residents with existing breathing problems who suffer the most.
Michael Archibald, the home administrator, says there is little they can do to help residents cope.
"Keeping windows that do open, keeping them closed, and trying to support the residents that have increased breathing problems the best that we can is unfortunately the most that we can do," he says.
Leo Glavine said the mill must clean up or face closure
Speaking to CBC’s Information Morning radio program, Health and Wellness Minister Leo Glavine said the mill must clean up or face closure.
Glavine says he didn't realize how bad it is in Pictou until he spent a night there with other health officials last month.
David MacKenzie, a spokesman for Northern Pulp, said in July the smell and particulate are caused by emissions that are getting through an old precipitator, which is a filtration device. He said the company is having logistical issues bringing in a new one.
They hope to have a new precipitator installed by May 2015.
The province will take its next readings of particulates in the air near the mill on Monday.