Due to an increased amount of air pollution, Environment Canada is warning about shortness of breath, throat irritation and other respiratory symptoms in a Toronto air quality warning. The warning was issued just before 6:30 AM on March 9 and is expected to last several hours.
Environment Canada says the changing weather systems and low amount of wind recently have caused "increasing levels of fine particles and nitrogen dioxide" AKA air pollution in some parts of Toronto. This is particularly a problem in the Northern and Western ends.
This air pollution is a risk to everyone. According to Environment Canada, some people may experience shortness of breath, throat irritation, coughing and headaches if they are outside. The air quality is especially a risk to anyone who has asthma or other lung disease, heart problems, diabetes, or children and elderly people.
However, even if you are healthy and active you should also take note. People who work or exercise outside regularly are also at risk for symptoms related to air pollution. That's because as you do strenuous activity, you breath deeper allowing the air pollution to enter your lungs quicker. Environment Canada warns Torontonians to postpone outdoor activities until the air quality warning is lifted.
Considering the air quality warning is already in place, there isn't much we can do to stop this particular incident. However, the Government of Canada offers tips to prevent air pollution in the future.
They have three main steps to help improve air quality. They recommend carpooling, biking, or taking transit to work, not burning wood in a fireplace or stove, and reducing how much energy you use at home.
The government also recommends other tips that will lower your air pollution contribution. This includes driving less and buying a fuel-efficient vehicle for when you do drive.
At home, the government also suggests buying products like smart thermostats that would make your house more energy efficient and turning off lights and other electronics when not in use.
The air quality alert isn't the only weather statement in place for Toronto right now. Environment Canada has also issued a special weather statement warning of up to 25 cm of freezing rain, coming on Sunday.