Wednesday, July 17, 2024

‘Special Air Quality Statement’ issued for Quinte area

Photo by Tanishq Tiwari.

Environment Canada has issued a “Special Air Quality Statement” for much of the Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington (KFL&A) and Quinte regions.

Published at 10:52 a.m. on Tuesday, Jun. 18, 2024, the Special Air Quality Statement was issued jointly by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, and Environment, and Climate Change Canada, and is in effect for the Kingston and Prince Edward County areas, including Napanee, Consecon, Picton, and Sanbanks Park, as well as for Belleville, Quinte, and Northumberland. This follows the multi-day heat warning in effect for all of the same areas.

In an alert, Environment Canada said, “High levels of air pollution are possible this afternoon and evening,” and goes on to speak about the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) maintained by the federal Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change.

“Hot and sunny conditions are expected to cause increasing ground-level ozone concentrations north of Lake Ontario. Moderate risk AQHI values are expected throughout the day with the potential of short-term high risk AQHI values in the afternoon and evening. Individuals may experience symptoms such as increased coughing, throat irritation, headaches or shortness of breath. Children, seniors, and those with cardiovascular or lung disease, such as asthma, are especially at risk,” the notice reads, noting that people with lung diseases, such as asthma and COPD, can be particularly sensitive to air pollution and will generally experience more serious health effects at lower levels.

“Pollution can aggravate their diseases, leading to increased medication use, doctor and emergency room visits, and hospital visits. Exposure to air pollution is particularly a concern for children, the elderly, and those who have underlying medical conditions such as lung or heart disease. Be air aware! Check your local weather forecasts and alerts so you know when to take extra care. Visit for information on how to reduce your health risk and your personal contribution to pollution levels, as well as for current and forecast AQHI values. Please continue to monitor alerts and forecasts issued by Environment Canada.”

The Ontario Air Quality Health Index, which includes the air quality forecast for the coming days, is available on the Ontario Government website, where all local regions are currently under the same forecast.

Graphics via the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation, and Parks.

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