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Pollution Science

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Why do we need clean air?
  • In Ontario 1,800 people die prematurely each year due to poor air quality.

  • The number of "smog alert days" during the summer of 1998 doubled from the previous year, putting millions of people’s health at risk, particularly young children, the elderly and those with asthma and respiratory illnesses.

  • Asthma rates in children have increased by 60% in the past decade.

  • Canada committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 6% by 2010 at the Kyoto conference on climate change. With vehicle emissions contributing significantly to increased CO2 levels, public education and behaviour change is a necessity in order to meet our Kyoto commitments.

Clean Air Commute success stories

When Paul Reesor was commuting 67 km daily to his Toronto Hydro workplace in his minivan, he would arrive tired and stressed from the 1.5 hour commute. After his workplace participated in the Clean Air Commute, Paul decided to make a permanent switch to the GO Train commuter rail system. He plans to continue to take the train for environmental and financial reasons: the wear and tear on his minivan plus parking was costing him over $10,000 a year! He now spends only $3,000 taking public transit. He also doesn’t have to worry about unsafe roads and severe weather. Instead, he passes his commute by catching up on some reading, preparing for the day or taking a nice nap at the end of a hard day. "I feel good about making the switch mentally, physically and environmentally. I’m a true convert and have sold people on the idea of taking transit for piece of mind".

110 km by GO train roundtrip = Daily savings of 34 kg and yearly savings of 8,342 kgs!

Cheryl Watterson of Outward Bound Wilderness Schools has moved up the commuter chain emissions-wise by switching from public transit to riding her bike. She is now a proud "zero emissions commuter" when she cycles the 7km to work every day (except in inclement weather when she takes public transit). Cheryl switched to cycling as a way to save money, get to work faster and increase her fitness level . The ultimate clean air commuter, Cheryl also bikes to her courses and meetings. "I feel great about the switch. I have developed more energy and I am more fit. In addition I have dropped a couple of dress sizes and feel GREAT! The Clean Air Commute helped with the transition. It was a competitive reinforcement."

14 km by bicycle roundtrip = Daily CO2 savings of 5 kgs and yearly savings of 1,225 kgs!

Source: Pollution Probe