This past month, we have heard in the news quite a bit of opposition from environmental and community groups about Sun Gro Horticulture Canada’s application for a license to mine a peat bog near Lake Winnipeg. Just last Monday (January 30/12) another article was published in the Winnipeg Free Press — Mining peat in lake’s watershed opposed — where concerned groups, Little Deer Cottage Association and Lake Winnipeg Project, worry about peat mining affecting the water quality of Lake Winnipeg.
The Wilderness Committee is another Manitoba group educating citizens about the detrimental effects of mining peat bogs. The Province of Manitoba is accepting public comments in regard to this license application until Friday, February 3rd.
In general, environmentalists are concerned about bogs being strip mined for many different reasons. Peat bogs are important ecosystems that provide many benefits to our environment. For one thing, they help sequester greenhouse gases. However when the bogs are mined, these gases get released into the atmosphere, accelerating climate change. It takes thousands of years to form peat bogs so they are basically non-renewable resources. Bogs are a natural water filter so they improve water quality. The list goes on and on.
In addition, there are environmentally preferable alternatives to purchasing peat moss. Why not use compost instead? Compost provides the same soil conditioning benefits plus it contains nutrients which peat moss lacks.
By the way, Happy World Wetlands Day!