Conditions predicted to worsen in Toronto as poor air quality, high levels of pollution confirmed



Environment Canada has increased the air quality risk level for Toronto on Wednesday, up from Tuesday, as smoky conditions continue to swirl around the city and the smell of burning fills the air.

The agency issued a special weather alert for the city Wednesday morning, stating that high levels of pollution had developed due to forest fires in Quebec and northeastern Ontario.

Environment Canada is predicting that Toronto will reach a seven on the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) Wednesday, which measures air quality based on how it will impact health. That number indicates a high risk level during the day, and means people may want to consider cancelling outdoor activities.

“There’s a ridge over Ontario right now, so it means these winds are consistently bringing in poor air quality,” said Trudy Kidd, an operational metrologist with Environment Canada.

That high risk is set to continue into Thursday, and is up from a moderate risk on Tuesday, when the city was a level five on the scale of one to ten.

Moderate risk levels mean the general population need not cancel “usual activities” unless you start to experience symptoms like throat or cough irritation. For at-risk populations at that risk level, consider rescheduling outdoor activities if symptoms are present, according to Environment Canada’s website.

Those with lung disease, such as asthma, people with heart disease, older people, children, pregnant people and those who work outside are at higher risk of experiencing health effects, the agency said.

Premier Doug Ford also commented on the wildfires and poor conditions Wednesday during question period at Queen’s Park, urging that the public refrain from lighting campfires.

He said 52 fires are considered out of control in Ontario right now, with half started by lightning strikes and the other half caused by human activity like not properly extinguishing campfires.

When the index indicates a high level of risk, the general population should consider rescheduling or reducing outdoor activities if symptoms are experienced. At-risk populations should reschedule outdoor activities, according to Environment Canada.

“Stop those outdoor activities and contact a health-care provider, if you or someone in your care experiences shortness of breath or wheezing, asthma attacks, cough, dizziness or chest pains,” said Kidd.

“Poor air quality will persist into the weekend,” said Environment Canada’s statement. The agency’s most recent warning was firmer than Tuesday, as the agency previously said there were hopes the conditions would ease by the weekend. A low pressure system that could bring in cleaner air may arrive by Sunday, said Kidd.

“Wildfire smoke can be harmful to everyone’s health even at low concentrations. Continue to take actions to protect your health and reduce exposure to smoke,” states Environment Canada in its alert for Toronto.

Air quality and visibility due to the wildfire smoke can fluctuate over short distances and can vary considerably from hour to hour. But wildfire smoke can be harmful even at low concentrations, it said.

Wear a mask if outside, recommends Environment Canada

If you must spend time outdoors, Environment Canada recommends wearing a well-fitted respirator type mask like an N95 to help reduce exposure to fine particles in smoke.

“These fine particles generally pose the greatest risk to health. However, respirators do not reduce exposure to the gases in wildfire smoke,” it said in its statement Wednesday.

Redes Sociais - Comentários

Artigos relacionados

Back to top button


O Facebook/Instagram bloqueou os orgão de comunicação social no Canadá.

Quer receber a edição semanal e as newsletters editoriais no seu e-mail?


Mais próximo. Mais dinâmico. Mais atual.
O mesmo de sempre, mas melhor!