There are a number of activities that contribute to air pollution including transportation, waste management and industries that all burn fossil fuels. Poor air quality directly impacts both the health of people and the environment. However, there's a lot that we can do to curb air pollution and improve our health. Monitoring air quality is vital to understanding what factors contribute to air pollution and also in thinking about solutions for communities. Learn more about the impacts of particulate matter and poor air quality on our health and what we can do to monitor air pollution.
Particulate Matter - The Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change defines particulate matter as "the general term used for a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets in the air. It includes aerosols, smoke, fumes, dust, ash and pollen." Particulate matter is known for having a number of negative health and environmental impacts.
Take a look at the following resources to learn more about particular matter:
Fine Particulate Matter (Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change)
National Ambient Air Quality Objectives For Particulate Matter (Health Canada)
Particulate Matter (United States Environmental Protection Agency)
WHO Air quality guidelines for particulate matter, ozone, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide (World Health Organization)
Health Impacts of Poor Air Quality - Particulate matter and poor air quality are particularly of concern in urban areas. The World Health Organization has identified that poor air quality can be a contributing factor to stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and both chronic and acute respiratory diseases, including asthma.
The following resources cover the health impacts of poor air quality:
Outdoor Air Quality (Health Canada)
Path to Healthier Air: Toronto Air Pollution Burden of Illness Update (City of Toronto)
Air Pollution and Your Health (City of Toronto)
Clean Air Partnership (a Canadian charity working to improve local air quality)
Monitoring Air Quality - Different levels of government are working to monitor air quality and the contributing factors to air pollution. Environment Canada uses the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) as a scale to help people understand how the air quality around them has an impact on their health. Local air monitoring helps identify sources of air pollution on the community level, and also look for ways to use community led initiatives to develop solutions.
There are a number of resources that talk about initiatives that already exist to monitor air quality:
Air Quality Health Index (Environment Canada)
Local Air Quality Studies (City of Toronto)
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