MPP JOURNAL for the week of July 16, 2021

Ontario Government Fights Smog

            The Ontario government has developed one of North America’s most comprehensive strategies to fight smog and other forms of air pollution.  Although more than half of Ontario’s smog drifts over the border from the United States, the province has taken strong action at home to reduce emissions from its own sources.  Real progress is being made and more actions are on the way.

             The Anti-Smog Action Plan unites representatives from the government, industry, municipalities and environment, health and community groups, in a collective commitment to reduce smog-causing emissions by 45 percent.  More than 50 signatories have signed the Anti-Smog Accord, showing continued interest in fighting for clean air.

             The government’s Drive Clean program cut smog-causing emissions from vehicles in the program area by 6.7 percent.  The added benefit of Drive Clean is that it will reduce 100,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually, the equivalent of taking 23,000 cars off the road permanently.  Most recently, Drive Clean was expanded to include other urban areas such as Peterborough, Windsor, Barrie and St. Catherines.

             In November of last year, a new proposed regulation would require the mandatory tracking of 358 airborne pollutants from all industrial sectors.  The regulation would make Ontario the first jurisdiction in the world to require monitoring and reporting of a number of greenhouse gases.

             Our government has developed one of the most comprehensive early action plans in Canada to combat greenhouse gases and smog-causing emissions.  As part of the plan, Ontario committed $10 million through its Climate Change Fund to develop provincial actions and spur all sectors – including governments, industries, communities and individuals – to find the most effective ways to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

             The Smog-Patrol is an on-road enforcement component of Drive Clean that spot-checks trucks, buses and light duty vehicles that are gross visible emitters of smog-causing pollutants.  Since 1999, the Smog Patrol has inspected over 7000 vehicles including buses and trucks and issued over 1000 tickets for violations of the Environmental Protection Act.

             Partners in Air is an air quality and environmental education initiative which is sponsored by the ministry, industry and schools.  Currently the program involves students and teachers in 14 Ontario secondary schools.  Students learn how to sample, test and analyze atmospheric contaminants using on-site weather stations.

             The ministry has offered resource materials to help municipalities develop and implement local responses to smog alerts.  A guide offers suggestions on how to set up an effective response program, and a resource kit provides samples of communications materials that can be adapted to suit local conditions.  


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