|1||Golden, British Columbia|
|2||Sault Ste Marie, Ontario|
|3||Dawson City, Yukon|
|4||Lytton, British Columbia|
|6||Chase, British Columbia|
|7||Revelstoke, British Columbia|
|8||Courtenay, British Columbia|
|9||Dollard-Des Ormeaux, Quebec|
(local time)SEE WORLD AQI RANKING
2:57, Feb 26
live AQI index
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Good|| 8 US AQI||PM2.5|
|PM2.5|| 1.8 µg/m³|
|Open your windows to bring clean, fresh air indoors|
|Enjoy outdoor activities|
|Monday, Feb 22|
Moderate 55 US AQI
|Tuesday, Feb 23|
Moderate 52 US AQI
|Wednesday, Feb 24|
Good 30 US AQI
Good 28 US AQI
|Friday, Feb 26|
Good 42 US AQI
|Saturday, Feb 27|
Good 28 US AQI
|Sunday, Feb 28|
Good 41 US AQI
|Monday, Mar 1|
Good 6 US AQI
|Tuesday, Mar 2|
Good 6 US AQI
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Quebec is a city located in the Canadian province of the same name, one of thirteen different provinces found throughout the country. It is home to over 800 thousand people, making it the second largest city in Quebec province after Montreal, as well as the eleventh largest countrywide. It has a sizeable economy and industry based around sectors such as transport and tourism, commerce as well as large scale manufacturing of goods and materials such as paper, processed food, metals, alongside chemicals and electronic equipment. With such a large factory based economy, coupled with the mass movement of its population, Quebec has some fairly high levels of air pollution, especially when compared to many cities in Canada that typically have a more pristine quality of air for the majority of the year.
In 2019, Quebec came in with a PM2.5 reading of 8.3 μg/m³ as its yearly average. This placed Quebec into the World Health Organizations (WHO's) target goal for the most optimal quality of air, which shows that despite having several months where the air quality depreciated somewhat due to several factors, Quebec still managed to maintain a good year round air quality level. This reading of 8.3 μg/m³ put the city in 3260th place out of all cities ranked worldwide, as well as 33rd place in Canada. Despite having the WHO's annual target reading, there is much the city could do to improve upon for the health of its citizens.
In Quebec, there are several polluting factors that come together to create compounded levels of air pollution, with multiple sources all playing their part, although some are more prominent than others. One of the more prominent ones would be that of pollution caused by the automobile industry, with tens of thousands of cars moving across the city in people’s daily commutes, as well as larger and more polluting vehicles such as trucks and lorries also contributing significant amounts. These larger, or ‘heavy duty’ vehicles as they are known, often rely on diesel fuels, and due to their great weight and size, put out far more pollution than their smaller and lighter counterparts, as well as hazardous particulate matter (with even their tires putting out large amounts of microscopic rubber particles that can have far reaching effects on people’s health as well as the environment).
Other sources include industrial emission, which along with vehicles also count as a major contributor to diminished air quality in Quebec and indeed the rest of the country. Power plants, factories and all related industrial zones put out large amounts of detrimental and hazardous chemicals, some of which will be discussed in short. Other contributing factors include one such as construction or repair sites, as well as agriculture and the burning of wood and other organic materials, particularly during the colder months.
Whilst periods of higher pollution can have grave effects on all members of a city’s population, particularly those who live near hazardous areas such as busy roads, rush hour zones or even near factories and power plants, there are certain demographics amongst the general public that for reasons pertaining to their health and background, are even more at risk.
These include young children, who are particularly vulnerable to developing allergies or other conditions that can turn into lifelong problems, stunting growth and causing possible cognitive impairments. The elderly are also a group that are at risk, as well as those who have preexisting conditions, particularly of the respiratory or cardiac variety, and those who have compromised immune systems due to illnesses, genetic predisposition or congenital defects. Another group that is particularly at risk are pregnant mothers, with overexposure to pollution leading to some serious issues such as increased chance of miscarriage, babies being born prematurely or with low birth weight. These factors can increase the infant mortality rate, as well as leading them to develop physical or mental defects later in life.
Observing the data taken over the course of 2019, Quebec showed a clear cut time period as to when the pollution levels were at their highest, as well as when they were at their lowest. This happened to correlate with the winter months as well, something that is commonplace throughout the world due to the increase in use of electricity to provide heating to homes and businesses, leading to power plants consuming greater amounts of coal to keep up with said demand.
In the month of October 2019, Quebec came in with a PM2.5 reading of 7.2 μg/m³. This then jumped up into the next pollution bracket (the ‘good’ ratings bracket at 10 to 12 μg/m³ required for classification) in November with a reading of 10.2 μg/m³, and then a further jump up to 12 μg/m³ in December. This elevated period of pollution continued on into the next year, correlating still with the colder temperatures due to the aforementioned reasons. January came in with the highest reading of 2019, with a PM2.5 count of 13.1 μg/m³, placing it into the ‘moderate’ ratings bracket, the only month of the year to break into this group rating. In closing, the months of November through to March of the following year was the time period that had the most polluted air (with the exception of February which saw a sudden reduction in its PM2.5 reading before jumping back up in the next month).
Some of the more prominent pollutants found in the air in Quebec would be ones that come from combustion sources as well as chemical byproducts from factories and manufacturing processes. These would include ones such as black carbon and volatile organic compounds (VOC's), both of which find their origin in the incomplete combustion of both fossil fuels and organic material such as wood. Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) would also be released in large quantities from vehicles, which also giving out black carbon and VOC's. On top of these, there are also sizeable traces of dangerous particulate matter such as finely ground gravel or silica dust emanating from construction sites, along with certain heavy metals such as lead, mercury and cadmium.