River Institute’s documentary premieres at OPG

Alycia Douglass
River Institute’s documentary premieres at OPG
Chronicling the 2016 Great St. Lawrence River Cleanup

CORNWALL, Ontario – This Saturday, March 4, the St. Lawrence Power Development Visitor Centre joined the St. Lawrence River Institute in celebrating the Cornwall premiere of their documentary, “A Great River Runs Through Us.” The film follows last summer’s Great St. Lawrence River Cleanup, giving people a glimpse into massive community undertaking.

The documentary was filmed by Vince Pilon over the course of five months, and showcases the partnerships between various community groups as they work together to restore the St. Lawrence River to its former glory. Partners included Raisin River Conservation Authority, the Seaway Valley Divers, Cornwall Lunker Club, the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne and Ontario Trillium Foundation, and more – all of whom played critical roles in facilitating the cleanup.

 “We are a throwaway culture,” said Karen Douglass Cooper, Communications Specialist, the River Institute. “It’s so obvious, it’s disturbing.”

At one point, kerosene was being routinely pumped into the river to keep the foam down, said Douglass Cooper. “Kerosene was great at suppressing the foam – but we were pumping fuel into our river so we could hide that we were polluting our river.”

“Delusion became the solution to pollution,” said Mohawk Council of Akwesasne Environmental Science Officer, Henry Lickers. “They’d just dump it into the river, and the St. Lawrence River became an alphabet soup.”

Having pulled out shopping carts, a cash till, and more Tim Horton’s coffee cups than anyone could count, thanks to TerraCycle Canada, much of the garbage will be recycled at no cost to the city. With most of the hard plastics to be melted down and repurposed, things like cigarette butts will be primarily used for composting. Juice boxes, which were also a dime a dozen during the cleanup, will be turned into backpacks.

“It’s really about bringing yourself into the community and understanding the way you should engage with the environment, that we all are a part of it,” said MCA Environment program’s Abraham Francis. “We aren’t separate from it, we aren’t better than it, and it’s our responsibility to repair and aid what we’ve cause to it.”

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