Air pollution is one of the environmental issues facing communities in Canada. Air pollution problem in Canada arises from the accumulation of airborne compounds and biological matter in the atmosphere that causes harm to human lives, the environment, and the entire Canadian economy. In Canada, the factors that contribute to air pollution include the burning of fossils for energy that is used both domestically and running the industries.
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Fossil fuels constitute part of Canada’s primary source of fuel for Canada’s population even though the federal government is cognizant of the consequences that they have on the environment. The air pollution problem in Canada is a persistent problem due to climatic changes, an increase in urbanization, and the continued reliance on motor vehicles as the major source of transport (Wirth, 2000).
The Alberta Oil Sands, (large deposits of bitumen), is the main contributor to Canada’s air pollution problem. Therefore, the air quality of Northern Alberta is much poorer than those of other areas with similar population densities. Other urban areas such as Toronto face environmental issues that are related to air pollution because of the industrial chemicals (Taylor & McMillan, 2013). The city of Montreal falls below the World Health Organization’s endorsed maximum level of concentration of particulate substances in the air. Other cities such as Hamilton, Laval, Kamloops and Saskatoon also exceed the recommended maximum level of particulate matter in the air. The province of Quebec was considered the leading source of emission of fine particulate substances from the human activities in Canada, most of which arise from heating wood (Lavigne, Villeneuve & Cakmak, 2012).
Sulphur oxides were the first of the Criteria Air Contaminants (CACs) that received noteworthy attention from an environmental viewpoint. The scientific research studies in the 1970s decade started linking Sulphur dioxide to the acidification of the marine life forms in North America to show that long-range transit of Sulphur oxides was possible. Acid rain, which was caused mainly by Sulphur dioxide, was the main air pollution issue in Canada from during the 1970s and 1980s (Heck & Taylor, 2012). The first major domestic and international agreements on air issues in North America thus focused on issues of air pollution caused by Sulphur oxides and acid rain. However, prior to the domestic and international agreements on Sulphur oxides and acid rain in the 20th century, the Trail Smelter Case made sure that the issue of air pollution became a documented problem in Canada as early as the year 1896 when the first smelting plant was established (Taylor & McMillan, 2013).
As the smelter developed over the course of time, the locals started protesting over the smoke clouds, which led to the construction of a 100-meter-tall stack in 1920 to diffuse the gases further down the Columbia River Valley.
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