Windsor

Environmentalist says biochemical companies in Sarnia not having much of an impact

A handful of small biochemical companies have been setting up shop in Sarnia, Ont. over the last few years, with some saying that it's a sign of a greener future for the region — but others are skeptical.

'It doesn't change the fact that there's ongoing problems with environmental quality in Sarnia'

Derek Coronado, co-ordinator of the Citizens Environment Alliance says he's skeptical that Sarnia is moving towards a greener future. (Katerina Georgieva/CBC)

A handful of small biochemical companies have been setting up shop in Sarnia, Ont. over the last few years, with some saying that it's a sign of a greener future for the region — but others are skeptical.

Derek Coronado, the co-ordinator of the Citizens Environment Alliance based in Windsor, says for decades Sarnia has had — and continues to have — the worst air quality in the country because of the petrochemical industry that dominates the region.

Though he admits he doesn't know much about the biochemical companies that have set up shop in Sarnia over the last few years, he described them as small players.

"To a lot of people in the environmental community, it doesn't excuse or it doesn't change the fact that there's ongoing problems with environmental quality in Sarnia and the chemical valley," he said.

Sarnia, ON is known for its petrochemical companies. (Colin Côté-Paulette/Radio-Canada)

"I don't think it's having much of an impact. Only if it actually replaces existing production will it have an impact, and so far, I haven't seen that happening."

He said that the petrochemical industry in the Sarnia region continues to damage people's health, and he'd like to see stronger government policies to address the issues.

"We still have a very long way to go to really replace the damage to the environment that has been happening and continues to happen from the petrochemical industry."

With files from Colin Côté-Paulette

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