Canada #2041


Canada has many issues that need to be solved some of them are crucial, If we solve these issues we can have a better and more sustainable Canada. I have done my research and found an issue that needs attention now, I will tell you about the major issues that I have found and how I plan on solving it by 2041.


Alberta Oil Sands

Oil sand is a naturally occurring mixture of sand, clay or other minerals, water and bitumen. The Canadian oil sands are the second largest oil reserve, most of our oil sands are located in Alberta, we can extract around 175 billion barrels of oil. Oil sands industry create economic benefits for Canada and North America. Oil sands development creates a significant number of jobs outside Alberta, there might be benefits coming from the oil sands but many say the negative impacts outweigh the benefits. As oil sands development increase many people are having concerns about the harm that it causes to the environment and much more.

How do we extract it?

Tar sands are mined and processed to generate oil, oil sands recovery processes include extraction and separation systems to separate the bitumen from the clay, sand, and water that make up the tar sands. Tar sands that are near the surface can be acquired by open pit mining techniques. We can also extract it with underground heating.


The oil sands are affecting our resources greatly. We know that water is apart of the physical environment but the oil sands consume 652 million cubic meters. Water is a very important resource Canada has, The role of water in the extracting process of the oil sands is crucial. Water is used in the oil sands to separate the extra-heavy crude oil, which is also known as bitumen, from the sand, clay, and water which makes the oil sands. Water is also used up in the hydrogen production.

The oil sands production requires a large amount of water and most of its acquired from the Athabasca River. To give you an idea of how much water that is, the oil sands use more water per year than the entire city of Calgary. The government of Alberta report warned that there may not be enough water to meet the needs of all planned oil sands projects while trying to maintain enough stream flows. Also sometimes pollutants from the oil sands find their way into lake and contaminate fish, the fish show signs of diseases, many worry about the fishing industry and their ability to work successfully with contaminated fish in the water because eating it might kill you. Also When extracted oil has a chance to spill it can have a massive effect on the hydrosphere, it spreads over the surface in a thin layer that stops another important resource from getting through and that is oxygen, it stops getting to the plants and animals that live under water. Having an affect on our resource can also lead to having a impact on our physical environment.

The Athabasca River before and after (Tar sands). As you can see the massive change of the river, it is very dirty and unclean.

Physical Environment

The oil sands have many benefits but they cause many issues to the physical environment. The tar sands cover around 140,000 square kilometers of Alberta. The oil is extracted using mines or drilling but tar sands reserves that cannot be gained through open pit mines are extracted using situ methods, situ methods are used to recover bitumen that is too deep beneath the surface for mining. This technology uses steam, injected into the ground to thin the oil and then it's pumped out, the sites which they are using the in situ methods are frightening wild caribou herds. The open pit mines have removed 686 square kilometers of boreal forest, the boreal forest is very important globally. It helps our fight against climate change and providing habitats for wildlife.

Boreal Forest

The Oil sands also use a lot of water, around 652 million cubic meters of water each year. Mine dumps are toxic, they are kept in lakes that were created by man to store the waste, the toxic lake seeps into natural waters and contaminate the fish and other wildlife. Tar sand also affect the air, tar sands release a large amount of sulfur dioxide which is toxic gas and nitrogen dioxide which is a poisonous gas. These harmful gasses are released into the environment and can cause acid rain.


FNMI are having many concerns about the oil sand development, the problems they have found are not enough compensation, loss of hunting and trapping territory, habitat destruction, health concerns that relate to the physical environment impacts. The oil sands aren’t just negatively affecting the physical environment. The physical environment being affected connects to the population of the FNMI and how the harmful gases being caused by the oil sands are risking their health. All the toxic contamination done to the water which was one of the causes that oil sands had done to the physical environment, have affected FNMI so greatly that it increased the rate of cancer to the Indigenous Community and many people have moved out due to this issue.

Alberta can see an 60% increase in cancer cases
Livable community

Wastewater from the process are emptied and stored in huge toxic tailing ponds that can be seen from space. The toxic wastewater they put in tailing ponds leaks 11 million liters of toxic wastewater per day into the Athabasca river and seeps into ground water. This impact caused a significant rate of cancer to many indigenous communities. Also oil that is extracted from the sands are processed into fuel for our cars, the cars cause ghg emissions to be released and that causes climate change and In our community we have many people the own fuel powered vehicles and that right there means more ghg emissions.


As we can see the devastating harm the oil sands cause to the environment, population, community and our resources. This must stop or at least decrease but we cannot just stop extracting the oil it's to beneficial for our economy but we can help solve one of the monumental issues and that is all the water pollution its causing.

The solution I have created for this is somewhat like a filtration system that cleans the water and from all the sand and bitumen. After the oil industry is done with the water, there is 40% sand 30% water and 30% bitumen. Too filter the sand I was thinking of a rapid sand filter but on a larger scale, it will quickly clean the water of any sand that is left in it. The used water will enter a pipe and then will be held in a tank, while the water is held we can mix flocculation and sedimentation. The flocculation will bring microscopic particles together and form larger particles and the sedimentation will then use gravity to remove solids from the water. After there'll be another pipe that leads the water from the tank to another treatment facility. Bitumen is basically like grease and I think Diffused Air Flotations an efficient way of oil removal form industrial waste water, it will remove grease and extra solid left from the previous treatment.

This solution will clean the polluted water and also can help solve the issue for all units population, pollution, livable community, resources,physical environment. Therefore I believe this solution will make Canada sustainable and better by 2041.


Created with images by alexindigo - "Canada" • PublicDomainPictures - "barrel canister oil" • Pieter01 - "oil barrels metal"

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