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PM2.5 concentration in Regina air currently meets the WHO annual air quality guideline value
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|Thursday, Feb 22
Good 39 AQI US
|Friday, Feb 23
Good 15 AQI US
|Saturday, Feb 24
Good 20 AQI US
Good 8 AQI US
|Monday, Feb 26
Good 4 AQI US
|Tuesday, Feb 27
Good 5 AQI US
|Wednesday, Feb 28
Good 5 AQI US
|Thursday, Feb 29
Good 5 AQI US
|Friday, Mar 1
Good 4 AQI US
|Saturday, Mar 2
Good 4 AQI US
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Regina is the capital city of the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. It is the second-largest in the province, after Saskatoon. According to the 2016 census, Regina had a city population of 215,106, and a Metropolitan Area population of 236,481. Both of these, no doubt, will have increased by 2021.
In 2019, Regina achieved the World Health Organisation’s target figure of less than 10 µg/m³ for ten months of the year. In March and May, the level was classed as “Good” with readings between 10 and 12 µg/m³.
Energy production is the cause of most of Regina’s air pollution as toxic acidic and greenhouse gases are released through the combustion of fossil fuels.
Domestic and industrial heating and thermal power generation are needed more in the colder winter months so the air quality is generally not as good at this time of year.
Saskatchewan is a producer and consumer of fossil fuels and relies heavily on coal for electricity. Fossil fuel combustion produces pollutants such as carbon dioxide (CO2), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx).
Saskatchewan has the second-highest per capita emissions rate for carbon dioxide in Canada. Another major seasonal contributor to poor air quality is the burning of crop residues or stubble. This smoke can produce respiratory ailments as well as obstruct visibility for traffic.
One major source of pollution is the emissions from vehicles and in particular from cars that commute on a daily basis. Once cars became commonplace and affordable, Reginans steadily relocated to the Qu'Appelle Valley.
Since the 1940s many of the towns in the vicinity of Regina have been steadily losing their population as Canada’s agrarian economy changed. The original landholding for farmers was 160 acres but these are being sold off to the multinational conglomerates because that is the only way to make a profit from farming. Moose Jaw is another city which is a popular dormitory town for Regina.
There is a General Motors assembly plant in Regina which lead to the development of petroleum refining facilities.
Other sources include thermal power generation (from coal and natural gas), transportation, industrial smokestacks from the pulp and paper mills, oil refineries and mining operations and chemical pesticide application.
Pollution from natural sources comes from wind-blown soil particles, road dust, spores and pollen and smoke, soot and ash from forest fires and stubble burning.
During the autumn, Regina is often affected by smoke from forest fires in America and British Columbia. Even though the source of the fire is 100s of kilometres away, the resulting smoke can easily be blown across borders by the prevailing winds.
In the past, Regina had an extensive tramway network but this is no longer in existence. So there are no trams, subways or trains that run within the city. Instead, there is a bus company that operates a public transport system with 110 buses.
The air quality in Regina could be improved through the replacement of these old diesel-powered buses with electric vehicles or zero-emission vehicles.
Exposure to high levels of smoke should be avoided. Individuals are advised to limit their physical exercise if exposure to high levels of smoke cannot be avoided. Individuals with cardiovascular or respiratory conditions (e.g. asthma), foetuses, infants, young children under the age of 14, and the elderly may be more vulnerable to the health effects of smoke exposure.
Smoke is irritating to the eyes, nose and throat, and its odour may be nauseating. The worst components of smoke are carbon monoxide and PM2.5 particles. Inhaling carbon monoxide (CO) decreases the body's oxygen supply. This can cause headaches, reduce alertness, and aggravate a heart condition known as angina. When inhaling high concentrations of carbon monoxide, it can cause blurred vision, loss of coordination, and even death in extreme circumstances.
The microscopic particles of PM2.5 are particularly dangerous as due to their size, they can easily bypass the body’s natural defence system and penetrate deep into the lungs. They have the ability to travel to the base of the bronchial tubes where they come to rest in the alveoli.
Alveoli are the tiny air sacs in your lungs that take up oxygen when you breathe in and keep your body going. Although they’re microscopic, alveoli are the workhorses of your respiratory system and an average human body has almost 480 million of them.
There are basically three processes involved in breathing. Ventilation is where the air is moved in and out of the lungs. Diffusion is where incoming oxygen is exchanged for outgoing carbon dioxide and perfusion which is when the blood pumps through the lungs. In total, the alveoli would cover an area of over 100 square metres.
This large surface is necessary due to the volume of air required by the body in order to function correctly. The lungs take in between 5 and 8 litres of air per minute when the body is “resting”. When under physical exertion, this figure is much higher.
Even young, healthy people can be affected by poor quality air. The impact it has on health can depend on your current health status, the pollutant type and concentration, and the length of your exposure to the polluted air.
Extreme levels of polluted air can aggravate respiratory illnesses and cardiovascular complications. This, in turn, leads to added stress levels to the heart and lungs as they have to work harder in order to supply the body with the desired amount of oxygen. Cells in the respiratory system can soon become damaged.
Longer-term exposure to polluted air can accelerate the ageing process in the lungs which leads to a decrease in their functionality and capacity. Ultimately it can shorten the lifespan.
Long-term exposure to PM2.5 particles can aggravate asthma by irritating the airways which lead to coughing and difficulty in breathing.
It can also lead to the development of chronic diseases in children and an irregular heartbeat. In the worst-case scenario, it can lead to premature death.