The air is getting cleaner in Ontario thanks to provincial environmental action.
A recent report show that over the last decade, levels for six of the most common pollutants have decreased by as much as 60 per cent. And as a result, the number of smog advisories has also decreased – three smog advisories were issued covering 12 days in 2010, down from 15 smog advisories covering 53 days in 2005.
The quality of the air we breathe affects our quality of life. Common pollutants in our air can affect our health and the environment, and can make life less enjoyable. They come from sources near and far from home, including industrial facilities, transportation and motor vehicles, and the burning of fossil fuels.
Lower levels of air pollution in our communities help prevent heart and lung problems, and deaths associated with dirty air.
Tough regulations are reducing air pollution. In addition, an extensive province-wide air monitoring network provides around the clock monitoring. Learn more at www.AirQualityOntario.com, or call the toll-free Air Quality Information Interactive Voice Response system at 1-800-387-7768.
Smog-causing transportation emissions have decreased. Since 2001, average levels of nitrogen dioxide have decreased by 47 per cent. This is due in part to the provincial Drive Clean program to reduce smog-causing emissions by requiring cars to have their emissions tested. Vehicles that do not pass the emissions test are required to be repaired.
Pollutants from industrial sources have decreased. Ontario is implementing updated and new air standards to reduce industrial air pollution. Since 2005, 68 air standards have been updated or introduced.
Ontario is on schedule to phase-out coal by 2014. Since 2003, Ontario has shut down 10 out of 19 coal-fired units, and cut the use of coal by nearly 90 per cent. Burning coal produces sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides – two gases that are major contributors to air pollution.
Ontario’s coal-fired power plants used to cause $3 billion in health damages a year, including hundreds of premature deaths. Annual environmental damage was estimated at $370 million. The province is replacing coal with green energy options that have significantly lower environmental and health costs.When considered with the cost of running and maintaining coal plants ($985 million a year), many cleaner generation options have lower costs.
When air is cleaner, the health of our families, plants and animals is protected. Cleaner air makes a better Ontario.
For more information on what our government is doing to protect the environment, contact my Constituency Office at 416.630-0080.