Date Published: 4 June 2009
Air Quality Health Index Continues to Expand in British Columbia
More British Columbians can access a new health tool that will help protect them and their families against the harmful effects of air pollution.
The Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) provides Canadians with a personal health protection tool that allows them to better understand the quality of the air they breathe. In British Columbia the AQHI is expanding into Whistler, Williams Lake and Victoria (Western communities). British Columbia was the first province to adopt the AQHI and has served as a model for the expansion to other provinces.
"I am pleased that the Government of British Columbia is expanding the Air Quality Health Index in the province," said the Honourable Stockwell Day, Regional Minister for British Columbia and Canada's Minister for International Trade. "The AQHI is the world's first health based air quality communications tool and is an effective way to help British Columbians minimize their exposure to the harmful effects of air pollution."
The AQHI provides current and forecast information to Canadians about the quality of the air they are breathing.
"The Air Quality Health Index is an important initiative, and one of the many things we're doing in British Columbia to ensure that our province continues to enjoy the healthiest air quality possible," said B.C. Environment Minister Barry Penner.
Reduction of air pollution is the key component to keeping Canada's air clean. Vehicle emissions remain a major contributor of greenhouse gases and air pollution. To address this issue, the Government of Canada will establish stringent regulated standards to limit tailpipe carbon dioxide emissions. We will also be moving forward with regulations to reduce volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from everyday consumer products, such as paint. In addition, through Canada's Economic Action Plan, the Government is investing $10 million to improve annual reporting on key environmental indicators such as clean air, clean water and greenhouse gas emissions.
The AQHI is the result of a strong partnership between the Government of Canada, provincial and municipal governments, and key stakeholder groups. The AQHI has already become a useful guide for thousands of Canadians that suffer from heart conditions, asthma and other respiratory illnesses.