Air Pollution stats

A letter from Veronica Taylor in The Observer

Reading the rebuff on air pollution from Ray Curran et al, it really got me thinking. I really don’t profess to know any/all the qualifying info and am as confused as many readers must be regarding their stats, etc., but am just a bit puzzled as to their support materials. As the wife of a wonderful man who has issues with asbestos from over 30 years working in Sarnia’s chemical valley – and who has lost many co-workers and friends to asbestosis, etc., their stats ring a little hollow. Their rebuttal of the actual fact that over 60% of Sarnia’s particulate matter emanates from the good ole US of A – could be true – but they go on to state that if this was removed from our atmosphere, we would rank among the best in the world! Helloo! And if 200% was removed from places such as Mongolia, they too, would be among the best in the world!

They go on to state there are only a ‘few’ cities which met the WHO guidelines of what supposedly is the criteria of 20 micrograms or less of PM10 particulate matter in the atmosphere – again, if you say so. However, anyone with a computer can Google this information and decide for themselves that while Canada as a whole had an annual average of just 13 micrograms of PM10 particles per cubic metre of air (as if I really knew the difference) but that Sarnia which has only a population of less than 75,000, had Canada’s WORST air quality, was just marginally above the WHO recommended limit. And we’re talking Calgary (population 1 million); Toronto (population 2.5 million); Montreal (1.9 million)…included – all pollution type cities which should be factored in this equation, but here’s little old Sarnia making the top of the heap. All the equations in the world do not nullify this horrific status.

Sarnia has also had the unfortunate status of being highly polluted for years and not only with its air but its waters. Years later we are told with information from those who should know better but in whom we put our trust…that we have deformed fish, toxic river bottoms, toxic sludge, etc. And later. Much like when there’s an ‘incident’ in Chemical Valley and we’re told – later. Saddens those of us who like to call Sarnia our home with all of its wonderful attributes. I speak for myself and hubby but I’m thinking there are many who would like to see some positive movements forward, not publicity for those who garner remunerative benefits.

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