Whenever the air is hazy, or the smell of engine exhaust or smoke from a forest fire lingers, many Albertans wonder what effects poor air quality is having on their health.
The Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) is a tool that helps inform people about the present quality of outdoor air, and helps them decide how to manage their outdoor activities so they are not injured by air pollution.
In the summer months it is not unusual to notice that the sky is a little hazier and the smell of smoke lingers in the air. Forest fires are a common occurrence during the Western Canadian summer and degrade air quality throughout our province. Smoke and ash from 2016’s Fort McMurray fire reached thousands of kilometres away – even as far as the U.K. and Spain.
While a devastating fire can make the far-reaching impact of pollution obvious, consistent emissions from our homes, cars, and industry regularly affect air quality here at home. Fortunately, there is a comprehensive system in place to monitor and address these emissions so air quality is maintained at an acceptable standard.