Torontonians respond to air quality report

Just one day after a report was released warning of polluted air in South Etobicoke, few people in the area seem to be aware of the report or concerned about the problem.

A visit to the affected area around Sherway Gardens turned up few people who were aware of the news, and even fewer ideas on solving the problem.

The report, released Jan. 15 by the City of Toronto’s Environment & Energy Office, indicated the air near the intersection of QEW and 427 contains levels of some dangerous toxins that exceed acceptable levels.

The pollutants can be implicated in respiratory illness, heart problems and cancer.

Pollutants found in high levels
Nitrogen Oxide
Particulate matter (PM10)
Particulate matter (PM2.5)

The pollution comes largely from motor vehicles in Toronto and Southern Ontario, but 68 per cent of one pollutant – Benzo(a)Pyrene- originates in the United States.

Plans for action
Mark Bekkering is Manager of Implementation and Support at the city’s Environment and Energy Division. He says his department will be working with Toronto Public Health to make policy recommendations based on the study. Initial recommendations are due on Mar. 3, 2104.

Though Bekkering couldn’t speak to specific recommendations, he says transit changes could potentially be part of the solution to the problem. His department is already developing programs to help residents and small businesses take action to improve the health of the environment on an individual and community level.

Bekkering says further air quality studies are planned for the city. Three more neighbourhoods are slated for this year, and another 3 planned for the year after.

Public Reaction
Though the news is hardly good, public reaction seems to be mixed.

Some Torontonians took to Twitter to react and suggest solutions.


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