Narrator: The average person takes about fourteen breaths a minute.The quality of our air is vital to our wellbeing. The Government of Canada is committed to clean air. Every day, hundreds of scientists, engineers and technicians work on leading edge research and monitoring programs in order to measure and report on air quality….so that we can breathe easier.
Celine Audette: National Air Pollution Surveillance Program
I’m Celine Audette with the National Air Pollution Surveillance Program and my colleagues and I measure pollutants in over 300 communities across Canada. The pollutants that we measure are the smog pollutants, ozone, sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide. The National Air Pollution Surveillance Program is an urban network. We cooperate with the provinces, territories and municipalities to collect the data and then they provide their quality assured data to our Canada-wide air quality database.
Narrator: This data and information also helps determine the potential health and environmental impacts of air pollution and identify emerging trends. But protecting Canadian communities requires a wide range of input.
Dr. Pierrette Blanchard: Canadian Air and Precipitation Monitoring Network
I’m Dr. Pierrette Blanchard and we are at Egbert, a small rural site north of Toronto. Egbert is one of the remote sites of Environment Canada’s Canadian Air and Precipitation Monitoring Network. The sites are usually remote and rural areas so the sites are not influenced by local sources of air pollution. The data that we collect at a site like Egbert is part of the science that informs the policy maker so that we have regulation that will protect the air quality for all Canadians and for the generations to come.
Narrator: Information from air quality monitoring stations is analyzed. It’s also supplemented with data from a state-of-the-art mobile lab.
Dr. Jeff Brook: Air Quality CRUISER
I’m Jeff Brook and I’m here in Montreal and we’re doing measurements with the Canadian Regional and Urban Investigation System for Environmental Research or better known as the air quality cruiser. Cruiser can drive and measure air pollution around cities and out in the countryside and it has some of the most sophisticated air pollution measurement equipment in the world. The cruiser has gone from Victoria to east of Montreal. We use the results of our information to provide key information to federal, provincial and municipal leaders who then can make policies that can help protect the health of Canadians.
Narrator: Some of this data is the basis for Canada’s Air Quality Health Index… a public information tool that provides daily forecasts about air quality levels. The index was developed by Environment Canada in partnership with Health Canada and provincial governments. It’s accessible on the web and in other media. Using the scale, Canadians can be better prepared to deal with air pollution and take appropriate steps to limit their exposure. Environment Canada is working hard to measure and track air quality. Scientists and engineers check emissions to ensure vehicles and engines meet Canadian standards and regulations and investigate emission control technologies. Researchers also study environmental impacts of current and new fuels. This scientific work develops information that Canadians need to make informed decisions about the environment.
Jacek Rostkowski: Emissions Research and Measurement Division
I’m Jacek Rostkowski from Environment Canada’s Emission Research and Measurement Division. We’re in our lab in Ottawa, which was built to test vehicles and engines for exhaust and evaporative emissions. This lab enables us to test engines from the size of my fist to a full size truck. We do a lot of testing for compliance for environmental regulations as well as doing basic research for species which are in the exhaust.
Narrator: Environment Canada is a world leader in environmental science research. This important work is part of our mission to better understand air pollution, its levels, causes and sources, to keep Canadians informed about the air we breathe every day...and to remind everyone that cleaner air is better for all of us!
Experts together: These are just some of the ways Environment Canada’s science is benefiting you!