Greater Sudburians should be breathing a little easier these days, based on the results of Clean Air Sudbury’s newest report.
Clearing in the Air, the third report by the local non-profit group on air quality trends in the city, was released on Wednesday. Based on data from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, the National Pollutant Release Inventory and the Greater Sudbury Sulphur Dioxide and Particulate Monitoring Networks operated by Vale and Glencore, the report showed that Greater Sudbury’s air quality continues to improve.
“This is a trend we have seen over a number of decades,” said Ray Potvin, a former air quality specialist for the province and private sector, who authored the report. “This report shows that trend is ongoing. These improvements are consistent with what we’ve seen across the province, in terms of air quality, during the past 10 years. This is a result of governments requiring stricter emission controls.”
Sudbury actually ranked better than many other cities, in both Northern and southern Ontario, in terms of air quality from 2008 to 2014, the years covered by the report.
Sudbury’s air quality index (AQI) was below 31, meaning very good or good, about 94 per cent of the time. That’s roughly on par with Sault Ste. Marie, North Bay and Ottawa and better than Windsor, Hamilton, Toronto or Parry Sound.
AQI index is based on hourly average readings for certain air pollutants that cause adverse effects on health or the environment – sulphur dioxide (SO2, emitted during the smelting process), ground-level ozone (O3, associated with smog events), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), total reduced sulphur (TRS) compounds, carbon monoxide (CO), and fine particulate matter (PM25).
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