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Air Quality

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   Status: Needs Improvement 

Good air quality is important to our health and the environment. While Saskatoon has many favourable features for good air quality, sources of pollution make ongoing monitoring important.

 

The Strategic Plan vision statement for Environmental Leadership  includes clean air. 

 

Where are we now?

Saskatoon’s average Air Quality was ranked as Good by the Air Quality Index in 2014, and has been showing a slow downward trend over the past decade. This means that on average residents with severe respiratory ailments now may notice minor effects, when prior to 2009 the air quality was ranked Excellent and there were no known health impacts.

 
Data Table
Air Quality
  2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Average Air Quality Index 14 14 15 14 15 18 17 16 17 18

Air Quality Index Range Impact on Environment and Human Health
Excellent 0-15 No known harmful effects to soil, water, vegetation, animals, materials, visibility or human health.
Good 16-25 No known harmful effects to soil, water, vegetation, animals, materials, visibility or human health. Persons with severe respiratory ailments sensitive to air pollution may notice some minor effects.
Fair 26-50 Adequate protection against harmful effects to soil, water, vegetation, animals, materials, visibility and human health . Persons with severe respiratory ailments sensitive to air pollution may need to modify their usual outdoor activities if experiencing effects.
Poor 51-100 Not all aspects of the environment and human health are adequately protected from possible adverse effects. The general population should consider reducing or rescheduling strenuous outdoor activities and higher-risk populations should reduce or reschedule outdoor activities.
Very Poor >100 Continued air quality in this range could pose high risk to environment and public health.

 

Source: Government of Saskatchewan: 2015 State of the Environment Report. 

What are we doing?

Advisory and Education Role

The regulatory authority for air pollution is with the provincial and federal governments .  The City of Saskatoon therefore serves in an advisory and educational capacity. 

Western Yellowhead Air Management Zone (WYAMZ) 

The City of Saskatoon assists with managing the airshed in which Saskatoon is located. It is the second official air management zone in the province and will result in continuous, real-time air quality monitoring, including monitors in Saskatoon. 

 

What can you do?
 

Environment Canada recommends monitoring the Air Quality Health Index if you have respiratory or cardiovascular condition, have young children, are elderly or are active outdoors. This index tracks the pollutants that cause symptoms like eye irritation, coughing and difficulty breathing. 

 

Consider ways to reduce your air pollution such as taking transit, turning your car off instead of idling and planting a lawn that does not require mowing. 

Did You Know?

One of the main pollutants that impacts Saskatoon’s air quality is ground level ozone. It is caused by the reaction of pollutants from industry, electricity generation and vehicle exhaust with sunlight. The same pollution sources are responsible for greenhouse gas emissions.