Living in southern Ontario, one expects at times during the summer season to experience poor air quality. So far, the province has only had to deal with six smog days this year. Last year there were 12 and in 2005 there were 53.
So why is the region experiencing a decline?
“We've been very hot, we've had heat waves, high humidex values into the 40s, but the atmosphere conditions weren't there for the smog to set up,” says Dayna Vettese, a meteorologist at The Weather Network.
“What a lot of people don't realize is you need very specific conditions to get smog and a lot of our smog does come from other areas, not just here in southern Ontario. We've had a lot of high heat days, but they've all been fairly breezy and windy so a lot of those pollutants are mixing up in the atmosphere, which is good news for us in the sense that we don't get that dense fog sitting over the city.”
When smog forms there are possible health risks. It can make it more difficult to breathe for those who have certain medical conditions.
“We do have the fine particulate matter, which is part of the reason why we issue smog advisories and warnings. We also have ozone and ozone is one of the factors when we issue it and most of that comes from the burning of fossil fuels. So it comes from factories and from our cars,” explains Vettese.
If you commute, spare the air. Try to organize a car pool. Walk or bike short distances and leave the car at home.
In the end, every green choice does in fact make a difference.