A group of more than 200 protesters gathered in New Glasgow, N.S., Sunday to express their concerns about the chemical composition of smog coming from the Northern Pulp Mill in Abercrombie Point.
Protestors say depending on the weather, there are days when the haze covers much of the waterfront of the town of Pictou.

Tests from last November show particulate levels, 78 per cent higher than acceptable.             

“Pictou has been inundated by this incredible, chemical smog the entire summer,” says protest organizer, Jane Sproull Thompson. “People haven't been able to go outside. We can't open our windows.”

Tourism numbers are down dramatically in the town of Pictou this summer.

Business operators say visitors are leaving, and many businesses are following suit.

“Thereare more stores closing every day. Oneclosed just last Sunday,” says business owner, Anne Emmett. “It's ridiculous. The town is dying a slow death.”

A petition with hundreds of names, made its way through the crowd.

Protesters say they believe chemicals from the mill are causing a number of serious health problems.

In response, Nova Scotia’s Environment Minister has said there's no imminent threat to human health, and the government has no plans to force the mill to shut down.

“The government doesn't care,” says resident, Donnie Wright. “They're feeding these people money and we're not getting anything out of it.”

“They need to close it down,” adds Sproull Thompson. “They need to fix the entire system, and they need to do it now.”

Mill officials say a new precipitator expected in May of 2015 should help address the problem.

However, an extended shutdown before that means the mill and hundreds of direct and indirect jobs would be gone.

“It’s unfortunate,” says resident, Andrea Haughan. “Pictou County is a beautiful county. Why do we have to suffer this anymore?”

Protest organizers say they plan to continue demonstrations like Sunday’s, until the air is cleaned and their concerns are addressed.

With files from CTV’s Dan MacIntosh.