Ontario's Actions to Fight Climate Change Improving Air Quality
Province Releases 2015 Air Quality Report
The people of Ontario are breathing cleaner air today than a decade ago as a result of the province's actions to reduce pollution and fight climate change.
Data in the 2015 Air Quality in Ontario report, released today, shows significant decreases in smog-causing pollutants in the province's air. These air quality improvements come as a result of Ontario introducing new requirements for industry that lead to reduced emissions, eliminating coal-fired power plants and establishing Drive Clean emissions testing.
There were no smog advisories issued in 2015, compared with 2005 when there were 53 smog days. Based on the Air Quality Health Index, the province's air quality was rated in the low risk category for 90 per cent of the year in 2015. Ontario is continuing to improve air quality, including through new rules and requirements that limit air pollution from industrial emitters. This includes:
- Requiring improved emissions control by industry including for benzene, from the petroleum and petrochemical industries
- Ensuring better environmental protection by proposing new requirements for emissions from the mining sector.
Clean air is critical for human health and the health of the environment. Protecting air quality, regulating air contaminants from industrial sources and supporting clean technology and innovation is part of Ontario's plan to protect the environment, create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.
- The Technical Standards that will reduce industrial emissions in the petroleum and petrochemical industries will begin in January 2018.
- The proposed Technical Standards to regulate air contaminants in the mining sector have been available for a 60-day public comment period on the Environmental Registry beginning April 20, 2017.
- The Air Quality in Ontario Report is published annually and provides detailed information about the province’s regional air quality.
- In 2015, all 39 Air Quality Health Index stations met Ontario’s outdoor criteria for nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and sulphur dioxide throughout the year.
- Since 2006, provincial concentrations at the monitoring stations of smog-causing nitrogen dioxide have decreased by 32 per cent, sulphur dioxide by 48 per cent, carbon monoxide by 53 per cent, and fine particulate matter by 25 per cent.
- The 2015 report marks 45 years of reporting on air quality in Ontario.
“Today’s report confirms that Ontario’s actions to reduce air pollution are working. We have seen substantial progress in the last 10 years, and we’re committed to doing more to improve air quality and ensure a healthier, cleaner environment now and for future generations.”