Is Montreal’s air pollution truly a problem?
The Service De L’Environnement’s most recent Montreal air quality report, which came out in 2017, indicates that the city’s air quality is most often, medically insignificant or tolerable by the general population. Does the lack of a direct perceivable effect on the population’s health mean there isn’t a problem?
No, it does not. And while there isn’t an immediate consequence, the city’s public health agency states that about 1500 citizens die yearly of complications because of our air pollution.
Canada continues to warm at rates much higher than the rest of the world, and this is in part due to our cities. Although smog days are at lower rates than they were about a decade ago, this is mostly because of Ontario’s closure of a few of their coal-powered factories a few years ago, not because of any alterations in our habits or practices.
So, what can we do? While 45% of the emissions produced by our city come from transportation, which would be harder to discourage people from using, 39% of emissions come from wood-burning stoves and fireplaces, a very easy problem to solve.
Essentially, cutting down on unnecessary or excessive usage of cars, as well as the burning of wood in homes could go a long way in reducing the amount of harmful chemicals present in the air above our city.
Written by: Lyn Hamze