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Air Quality

  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 2019, an improvement compared to the past 5 years but still part of the downward trend seen over the past decade. This means that on average residents with severe respiratory ailments now may notice minor effects. Prior to 2009 the air quality was ranked Excellent and there were no known health impacts.

 
Data table
Air Quality
Year Average Air Quality Index
2005 14
2006 14
2007 15
2008 14
2009 15
2010 18.6
2011 17.2
2012 17.1
2013 16.5
2014 17.6
2015 21.1
2016 16.6
2017 17.5
2018 22.5
2019 16.1
2020 15.1

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 is a member of the Western Yellowhead Air Management Zone, the regional management organization for the airshed in which Saskatoon is located. WYAMZ maintains continuous monitors in several urban centers across the province, including Saskatoon, as well as a passive network in the surrounding region. Annual reports are accessible from WYAMZ's website at http://wyamz.ca/reports-downloads/.

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.