Industrial and urban contamination, in the Saguenay region as elsewhere in Canada, is the result of the rapidly developing industrialization between 1940 and 1970 that deteriorated the marine environment, particularly in the Saguenay Fjord.
Until 1960, there was practically no biological data on species living in the Fjord. It was believed that the aquatic fauna was similar to that found in Saint-Lawrence estuary, but there was no formal study of the marine life in the Fjord.
It was during these years that the first pollution warnings occurred. On reading the scientific literature prior to the 60's, it is very difficult to find any book or articles about pollution problems. Neither the scientists nor the population was concerned. Awareness gradually developed over the years.
Environmental chemistry then started to advance by the development of increasingly improved techniques that were applicable to marine and land environments.
The last element to enhance consciousness and awareness was the introduction and enforcement of environmental laws. As awareness developed, citizen groups protested and analytical techniques were developed. Governments opened up to public opinion and felt they had to react.
Environmental laws began appearing in the 70's. The first rules and regulations required reducing pollutants at the source, decreasing industrial pollutant emission and promoting lesser polluting industrial processes.