October 18, 2007

Pollution in Canada getting worse, statistics show

OTTAWA - Canada's air and water quality is getting worse, Statistics Canada reported Monday.

Reviewing key indicators from 1990 to 2005, the statistical agency found a 12 per cent increase in ground-level ozone, a major component of smog, over the 15-year period. The increases were particularly noteworthy in southern Ontario and southern Quebec.

Smog is created from ozone and fine particulate matter that come from transportation, electricity generation, wood burning and the use of some chemical products.

The Statistics Canada report also found that water quality was "poor" or "marginal" in 23 per cent of sites tested.

Overall, it concluded that Canada was falling short of accepted quality standards required for protecting fish, plants and other aquatic life. The main source of pollution appeared to be phosphorus from sewage, agriculture runoff and industrial waste, according to the report.

Meantime, the study confirmed other recent studies about Canada's greenhouse gas emissions that revealed that levels of heat-trapping gases were stable between 2004 and 2005, but more than 30 per cent above Canada's legally binding targets under the Kyoto Protocol on climate change.

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