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Nitrates and Drought

It is unfortunate to see P.E.I.'s Minister of Environment simplify the cause of increasing nitrate levels in P. E. I. rivers chiefly due to agricultural chemical fertilizers, by indicating that recent droughts "are the expected culprit" It is also unfortunate to hear him use the drought-nitrate correlation to further justify the lifting of the moratorium in high capacity wells for agricultural use. (September 14, 2021 CBC interview with Environment Minister Hon. Steven Myers).

It appears Minister Myers may not be willing to identify the correlation between growing nitrate levels in Island water and the decreased health of Island soil. It is no surprise that over the past ten years as nitrate levels have increased in Island water, the organic matter in a high percentage of Island agricultural soil has become more depleted. Soil low in organic matter cannot hold either water or fertilizer. Too often the solution is to use more of both in the hope of increasing yields in the expectation for our Island farmers to produce more for less.

We cannot continue to deny that some of our industrialized agricultural practices are failing the environment, the soil, farmers, and the public for the benefit of the select few. It is great that Minister Myers says the issue of nitrates is being and will continue to be addressed. However, it has to be through the big picture, and more than a select few need their input received by the Island Government elected to serve each and every Islander.

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