Air pollution in Canada declining, according to report

Pollution in Canada declining

Heavy metals, including mercury and lead, have all decreased by more than 85% since 1990

The recent publication of the 2018 Air Pollutant Emissions Inventory for Canada shows that air pollution is declining, according to a Government of Canada press release.

According to the report, significant reductions in emissions of nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds from transportation vehicles, engines, and their fuels were instrumental in reducing total national emissions of these pollutants by 25 per cent and 42 per cent respectively, since 1990.

While Canadian emissions from most major air pollutants are declining, emissions of ammonia and some larger particulate matter have increased due to agricultural fertilizer and a general expansion of the livestock industry and construction operations.

“Reducing harmful emissions is improving air quality in Canada and reducing health issues related to air pollution, such as asthma and cardiovascular diseases.  This is significant since the Government of Canada estimates there are 14,000 to 15,000 deaths in Canada each year due to air pollution from human activity,” said Catherine Mckenna, minister of environment and climate change.

“Reducing air pollution also helps the economy as Canadian families and businesses avoid health-related expenses and missed work every year.”

The industrial emissions in Canada continued to decline, largely due to decreasing emissions from the mining and smelting industry and coal-powered electric generation.

Emissions of fine particulate matter, a concern to human health and a major component of smog, have decreased by 18 per cent, from 1990 to 2016.

Also, Canada’s emissions of heavy metals covered by the report, including mercury and lead, have all decreased by more than 85 percent since 1990.

“The Government of Canada is working with its provincial and territorial partners to ensure Canada’s air keeps getting cleaner,” said McKenna.

“As part of that effort, we recently set stricter ambient air-quality standards for sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide to further improve air quality and protect the environment and health of Canadians. We have also put in place requirements that will reduce air pollution from Canadian industries.

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