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BreatheEasy

breatheeasylabs.com

About BreatheEasy

BreatheEasy provides research, testing, designing and consulting solutions for air quality problems. It is based in New Delhi, India.

Headquarters Location

25, Community Centre East of Kailash

New Delhi, 110065,

India

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Latest BreatheEasy News

Cole: City of Ottawa must act on downtown air pollution

Jan 23, 2023

In Canada, annually, about 15,000 people die prematurely from air pollution. Some are in Ottawa; we can no longer ignore this problem. Author of the article: Article content The City of Ottawa has just been challenged to acknowledge and reduce the unsafe levels of air pollution created by trucks running through its downtown core. Advertisement 2 Article content Try refreshing your browser, or Cole: City of Ottawa must act on downtown air pollution Back to video Acting on behalf of Friends of the Earth and the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, Canada’s largest environmental law charity, Ecojustice, has written to Mayor Mark Sutcliffe with a well-researched and timely suggestion. It is asking the city to improve the air quality in downtown Ottawa by reducing the pollution created by trucks using the corridor that currently runs from Highway 417 north on Nicholas, and along Rideau and King Edward streets toward Gatineau. Ottawa Citizen Headline News Email Address Sign Up By clicking on the sign up button you consent to receive the above newsletter from Postmedia Network Inc. You may unsubscribe any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link at the bottom of our emails or any newsletter. Postmedia Network Inc. | 365 Bloor Street East, Toronto, Ontario, M4W 3L4 | 416-383-2300 Thanks for signing up! A welcome email is on its way. If you don't see it, please check your junk folder. The next issue of Ottawa Citizen Headline News will soon be in your inbox. We encountered an issue signing you up. Please try again Article content This proposal from FOE and CAPE is well worth considering and acting on. I recently led a project, BreatheEasy , measuring air quality (AQ) across the city on behalf of the Sierra Club Canada Foundation. We found a lot of “hot spots” where air quality was unhealthy, exceeding national and international standards. One of those hot spots was right along Rideau Street, part of that truck corridor. Advertisement 3 Article content We also uncovered other relevant information. Ottawa has only one official air quality station, on Wurtemburg Street, near the east end of Rideau Street. It typically sends out “low risk” advisories. However, just a few metres from that site, running west along Rideau Street, where the trucks go, I measured air quality readings at the dangerous level. No official warnings about this are forthcoming from the city, Ottawa Public Health, the province or the federal government. Ottawa Public Health does not seem to measure air quality or react to complaints about it. The province has a mandate in this area but does not appear to have the resources to deal with such complaints. Health Canada does not respond directly to air quality complaints but does provide this telling information on its web site: In Canada, annually, about 15,000 people die prematurely from air pollution. Advertisement 4 Article content If we were to average out those numbers across the country (admittedly a crude process) and noting that some parts of the country are more polluted than others, we could derive that about 300 people annually die prematurely from air pollution in Ottawa. So far, 1,000 people have died from COVID-19 in Ottawa. This could mean that over the last three years, air pollution prematurely killed almost as many people in Ottawa as died from COVID-19. That truck corridor runs through areas where disadvantaged residents live. It also runs near some high-priced real estate. Many people live, work, learn and play along this corridor including children, who are especially vulnerable to air pollution. As part of our project, we measured air quality at the truckers’ Ottawa protest site last year in front of the Parliament Buildings. It was equivalent to that in the most polluted cities in the world. This truck corridor in downtown Ottawa is not that bad for air quality. However, it is used 24 hours a day, all year long, thus exposing people near it to consistently unsafe air quality. Advertisement 5 Article content Why do we have this situation? Is there a better way? The City of London in the United Kingdom created a low emission zone in its centre core, restricting high polluting vehicles. It also installed real-time signs that display air pollution levels continuously. Air quality has improved because of these and other initiatives. Other cities around the world have taken similar steps to improve air quality. Let’s ask them what they did and are doing. Could Ottawa build a better, safer way to route trucks over to Gatineau? Could a rail line work more efficiently and more safely than trucks? Could we publicly identify those areas with dangerous air quality? Don’t we have laws, like our Canadian Environmental Protection Act, that entitle Canadians to safe, healthy air? Citizens in Ottawa should not have to breathe unsafe air. Right now, without knowing it, some of them are doing exactly that. Jake Cole is former leader, BreatheEasy, Sierra Club Canada Foundation. He is former environment director for the Canadian Coast Guard.

BreatheEasy Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • Where is BreatheEasy's headquarters?

    BreatheEasy's headquarters is located at 25, Community Centre East of Kailash, New Delhi.

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