Junkyard dog

Because of my long-term association of 32 years, with not one of the best, but the best weekly newspaper, and I challenge, anywhere in Canada, I get news releases that really should not be sent in my direction, as I am nothing more than a freelance writer.

But lately one flashed on the face of my computer that kind of rankled my hackles. And I quote:

“Automotive recyclers call for federal action to eliminate import and use of asbestos brake pads in Canada.” It goes on to say, “Asbestos brake pads pose a health risk to recyclers managing end-of-life vehicles.”

Reading this quivered a snarl on my lips, as well as an unprintable under-breath comment. If voiced, I’m sure, it would vibrate meaner than the growl of a skunk-sprayed junkyard dog. I did not push the delete button.

The question that thunderbolted into my mind was why should they, the ultimate of the ultimate in the recycling industry, have to ask? Should not our governments stop party politics and bickering, wake to reality, recognize what needs to be done and, in coalition, do it?

In a language lingo, of which I am more familiar, the junkyard operators across our nation are blessed with a likeness to that of our turkey vultures. They both, without hesitation, clean up our environment yet for generations have long been despised.

Both have been frowned upon through ignorance of need by the greater percentage of our population, while they rightfully should be highly commended. The turkey vultures clean up the unnumbered life-ended roadkill, while the automotive recyclers take care of approximately 1.6 million – I repeat, 1.6 million –  end-of-life vehicles each year.

For educational information, again I quote: “These vehicles require proper end-of-life management including ‘depollution,’ dismantling for parts salvage and metals recycling. Amongst materials such as fuels, oils, mercury switches and air conditioning refrigerants (such as chlorofluorocarbons and hydrochlorofluorocarbons) automotive recyclers must also contend with brake pads that may contain asbestos.”

And while you are trying to wangle your tongue into pronouncing a couple of those bracketed words correctly, certainly not in my vocabulary, allow me to once again quote: “While vehicle manufacturers do not install asbestos brake pads, one of the largest categories of asbestos-containing products imported into Canada is after-market brake pads.

“Canada imported more than $100 million in asbestos brake pads and linings between 2005 and 2015. Imports of asbestos-containing brake pads into Canada continue to increase unabated.”

Well, hello-o-o-o-o-o! What’s it going to take to wake up the federal officials in health and environment to act?

I have a six-foot, 30-pound, unemployed crowbar that currently stands upright in the corner of our workshop; if properly swung in a hard-headed direction, do you think that maybe it would wake those necessary up?

Take care, ’cause we care.




Barrie Hopkins