By Kate Jordan
(TORONTO, ON) – On the one year anniversary of the last coal plant closure in Ontario, the release of the 2013 Air Quality in Ontario report confirms that the province’s air quality has improved significantly over the past 10 years. Levels of pollutants and greenhouse gas pollution continue to decrease. Eliminating coal to generate electricity is equivalent to taking seven million cars off the road.
The report demonstrates that government action, such as eliminating dirty coal power, setting emissions controls at smelters, and mandating emissions trading of nitrogen oxides, is working to reduce greenhouse gas pollution and the airborne pollutants that are harmful to human health and the environment.
“Today’s report confirms that Ontario’s actions have resulted in fewer smog days and cleaner air,” said Glen Murray, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change. “Reducing emissions of greenhouse gas pollution and other harmful pollutants improves our air quality and helps fight climate change.”
For the first time in 20 years, no smog advisories were issued due to high levels of ozone in Ontario. Air quality measurements fell into the good or very good category for 94 per cent of the year. Additionally, regular readings from all 40 Air Quality Index Stations across the province met Ontario’s air standards for levels of nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and sulphur dioxide.
Earlier this week, Ontario took another step in the fight against climate change by announcing its intent to join with California, Quebec, and other governments to further protect the air by reducing greenhouse gas pollution through cap and trade.