Newfoundland benefits from being an island in terms of its ecological footprint on the earth. Lack of industry limits pollution of air and water, but the simple act of living creates its own challenges. Raw sewage still pours into the ocean from harbours, as it does in many parts of Canada and the world. The problem is being addressed, but it will be years before the harbours are fit to see anything besides seagulls in them.
There has been clean up of rivers in the past few years and one success story is the Rennies Mill River which now teams with fish and wildlife.
Fish are the equivalent of the canaries in the mines and are the first to show that something is not right with the water. Frogs as well are never present in polluted waters. I am lucky where I live in that both are there in the water that flows from its source to the sea. If they leave, I will know there is a problem.
The Atlantic ocean is clean by many standards but still poses problems for fish and mammals that make it their home. The fishing industry is dead or dying so the incidents of whales becoming entangled in fishing nets is limited. Ghost nets still roam the sea, making life a misery for those who encounter them.
Plastic carrier bags and rings that hold six packs of cans together cause death on a daily basis for both sea creatures and those on land through slow suffocation or entanglement.
While Newfoundland is blessed with clean air and clean water, we still have a way to go towards a cleaner environment and a smaller footprint on the world.