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The Clean Air Partnership is a registered charity, founded in 2000. Our mission is to work with partners to achieve clean air, facilitate the exchange of ideas, advance change and promote and coordinate implementation of actions that improve local air quality.

Path to Healthier Air

Considering that Toronto is Canada’s largest city, and the fourth largest city in North America, issues such as clean air requires room for research and discussion, as the city continues to grow both in human and vehicular populations.

A study by Toronto Public Health titled “Path to Healthier Air” highlights the importance of continued research into clean air initiatives. Toronto Public Health’s “Path to Healthier Air” study shows that air pollution in Toronto results in “approximately 1300 premature deaths and 3550 hospitalizations annually.” According to the Toronto Star, a 2004 study on air emissions showed that air pollution contributed to “1700 premature deaths and 6000 hospitalized annually.” Further, Toronto Public Health has also found that air pollution is a strong contributor to cardiovascular and respiratory health problems. Air pollution is also known to “affect birth outcomes, and is linked to cancer, chronic diseases and other illnesses.” This is especially concerning for a city as large as Toronto as any Torontonian can attest to the city’s smog alert warnings during the summer months.

Even amidst this grim reality, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David McKeown notes that this report shows that the city has improved in how it has addressed air pollution, but, more work has to be done to reduce air emissions to reduce health risks as “air pollution still has a serious impact on health.” The findings of this study shows that there has been a “decrease of 23% in premature deaths and 41% in hospitalizations over the past decade” due to various government programs and policies that has promoted the importance of reducing air emissions such as “the phase out of coal-fired power plants the City of Toronto’s low sulfur fuel purchasing.” Other ways that air emissions have been reduced have been through the work being done by environmental organizations within the city and the GTA such as the Toronto Centre for Active Transportation (TCAT), Toronto Atmospheric Fund (TAF), and of course, Clean Air Partnership.

 

Toronto Public Health’s study indicates that the highest source of local air pollution is from “motor vehicle traffic,” with over half of the health impact of Toronto’s air pollution coming from motor vehicle traffic, which accounts for “approximately 280 premature deaths and 1090 hospitalizations in Toronto.” What this means that in order to sharply reduce air pollution in the city, we must address Toronto’s motor vehicle traffic and promote alternative forms of transportation that does not further contribute to air pollution in the city. This requires city planners to ensure that pedestrians, cyclists, and public transportation is considered when addressing Toronto’s motor vehicle traffic. As the gif below highlights, a single TTC streetcar can reduce traffic gridlock within Toronto’s downtown core.

cars vs transit

Other ways that the City of Toronto can address air pollution is to continue the work that they are doing with Urban Forests as urban forestry has been shown to have public health benefits. A 2012 report done by Clean Air Partnership and Clean Air Council shows that urban trees can “mitigate many of the environmental impacts of urban development” through different way such as:

  • moderating temperature
  • reducing building energy use
  • reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2)
  • improving air quality
  • lowering rainfall runoff and flooding
  • reducing noise levels

Urban trees also provide economic and social benefits to a community such as improving real estate properties and fosters a more meaningful connection among people. Below, researcher Kamal Meattle shows how three common houseplants can contribute to cleaner indoor air which is beneficial to both commercial and residential spaces.

 

 

 

 

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. TCAT’s Move | Clean Air Partnership - May 1, 2014

    […] highlighted in one of our previous posts, the Toronto Board of Health has highlighted several recommendations to reduce the burden of illnesses caused by air pollution […]

  2. CAP: 100 Posts Later | Clean Air Partnership - June 19, 2014

    […] Path to Healthier Air […]

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