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This Canadian city has made huge progress in cleaning up pollution.

Ontario air quality report suggests Hamilton falling behind

Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Thursday, April 16, 2015, 4:31 PM - Ontario's Ministry of the Environment has released its 2013 air quality report and while overall quality is improving, Hamilton appears to be lagging behind in some areas.

Air quality in Sudbury is improving, with no smog days in the city in 2013 and good air quality 96% of the time, according to a Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change press release.

Sulphur dioxide concentrations were down 34% in the city, while Ontario's overall annual average of fine particulate matter, which is associated with a decrease in air quality, was down by thirty percent.

“Today's report confirms that Ontario’s actions have resulted in fewer smog days and cleaner air," said Glen R. Murray, Ontario's Minister of the Environment and Climate Change in a Wednesday press release.

"Reducing emissions of greenhouse gas pollution and other harmful pollutants improves our air quality and helps fight climate change. Thanks to our initiatives and policies, we can all enjoy a healthier, cleaner environment now, and for future generations.”

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According to the report, Ontario's air quality has "improved significantly" over the past decade, courtesy of a series of government-led initiatives.

Meanwhile, Hamilton's air quality ranks last in the province in some categories.

Downtown Hamilton has the highest mean concentration of sulphur dioxide in the province, although nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide concentrations have significantly decreased.

The city's Ozone levels, which contribute to smog, have risen 62% over the past twenty years -- but there have been improvements, with the city's smog days decreasing.

In 2005, the city saw 45 smog days, compared to two days in 2013.

"Cleaner air is important to all people of Ontario and lowers the health risks associated with pollution such as asthma and other respiratory diseases," said ministry spokesperson Lindsay Davidson in a statement. "The report confirms that actions like the phase-out of coal, emissions trading regulations, industrial air standards and Drive Clean are working and our air quality is improving."

Sources: CBC | Sudbury StarMinistry of the Environment 

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