Saturday, 19 January 2008

A Testament to Failure (Letter)


The Failed Strawboard Plant at Elie MB.


A tiny fraction of the massive straw piles at the plant. 
now rotting and surely rat-infested. PinP photos.

(Published in the Manitoba CoOperator - Jan. '08)
Dear Editor,

Regarding your recent story about the demise of the strawboard plant at Elie; my heart sinks every time I drive by that site.

It is a testament to the failure of so many things that society ought to be supporting; not relegating to the garbage dump.

Instead of being dismantled and sold to the highest bidder, the plant could still be up and running, diverting waste straw into a valuable building product.

Rather than being gutted, it could still be providing a market for farmers to sell what is an otherwise useless, not to mention dangerous product.

Instead, we can look forward to a future where irresponsible farmers continue to burn their stubble with impunity.

In the process, people unfortunate enough to be in the wrong place, including kids with asthma, will be left to their own devices to cope with the choking smoke.

Motorists will continue to run into each other due to reduced visibility caused by stubble-burning.

Last fall, I was treated to quite a spectacle as I was driving into the outskirts of Winnipeg from the west.
PinP photo.
Racing along the edge of a huge stubble field near the highway, was a farmer on an ATV (similar to the one above), burning his excess straw.

He had ingeniously rigged his vehicle with a propane tank and a boom. It was creating a long trail of fire behind him, ensuring the entire field would be ignited. On the far side of the same field, smoke billowed hundreds of feet into the air.

That night, the street outside the home where we stayed in the city, was enveloped in smoke. 

The next morning, newscasts were filled with reports of traffic snarls and a major accident in the city which critically injured a truck driver; all thanks to stubble smoke!

There was a day when governments who claim to be "social democrats" (like our present one), would have nationalized the plant and operated it as a crown corporation, like Manitoba Hydro.

Instead of requiring that our gasoline contain the questionable fuel additive, ethanol, for example, why not mandate the use of environmentally-friendly strawboard in new construction?

But I guess solutions like that are beyond the reach of our collective political intellect.

Instead, we can look forward to the continued rape of our forests, not to mention untold millions of additional taxpayer dollars being squandered on things like gambling casinos and sports bubbles in Winnipeg!

Larry Powell
Roblin MB