Air Quality:

What’s the issue?

Air quality can be an underrated factor of disease. Yet, according to WHO, an estimated 4.2 million people die each year as a result of air pollution.1 Of these deaths, 89 % are respiratory health related. The health effects of air pollution range in severity from irritated airways and dizziness, exacerbation of asthma to causing lung cancer or COPD. 

It has been estimated that exposure to ambient air pollution can account for over 15,000 premature deaths in Canada each year.      

There is widespread agreement about the need to transition to zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) transportation. The transportation sector is a leading source of harmful air pollution in Canada and worldwide, accounting for one-quarter of our greenhouse gas emissions.

In June 2021 Canada announced an acceleration of their previous goal of 100 % ZEV sales of new light-duty cars and passenger trucks by 2035 (from previous goal of 2040). An Abacus Data poll, commissioned by the Canadian Lung Association, indicated that 84% of Canadians support government incentives for ZEV purchase and infrastructure. However, only 35% indicated that they would purchase a ZEV at the time of completing the poll.     

What do we recommend?

  • Address the supply and demand issues related to adoption of zero-emission vehicles     
  • More investment into climate change activities with a focus on air pollution  

1  WHO, Ambient Air Pollution: Impacts, https://www.who.int/airpollution/ambient/health-impacts/en/ , Accessed 20.2.2019

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