Sunday, October 02, 2011

Fredericton ranks eighth in the world for clean air

Photo of Fredericton SkylineFredericton (September 27, 2011) – A study released yesterday by the World Health Organization (WHO) found that the City of Fredericton has some of the cleanest air in the world. The study examined the presence of particles of 10 micrometers or less (PM10) in 1100 cities, across 91 countries, in an effort to measure air quality across the globe.

The City of Fredericton has long promoted its quality of life and its environmental sustainability. Of the top ten cities cited in the study, nine are from Canada, and one is from the United States. The other Canadian cities are in Yukon, British Columbia and Newfoundland. The sole US city is in California.

"We are fortunate to live in such a beautiful place, and have always worked hard to make sure that we maintain our natural assets that help to give us fresh air," says Mayor Brad Woodside. "Our significant green spaces and urban forest, lack of industrial pollution, and environmental consciousness all contribute to the clean air that we all enjoy."

The WHO study found that "persistently elevated levels of fine particle pollution are common across many urban areas, The great majority of urban populations have an average annual exposure to PM10 particles in excess of the WHO Air Quality guideline recommended maximum level of 20 µg/m³. On average, only a few cities currently meet the WHO guideline values".

"This highlights the importance of monitoring and educating on community and corporate greenhouse gas emissions," says Alycia Morehouse, the City’s Climate Change Coordinator. "One of the largest contributors to poor air quality is motor transport. Reducing our reliance on vehicles, and exploring alternative forms of transportation is very important, as is choosing cleaner forms of energy and electricity."

Over 2 million people die annually from breathing in the tiny particles present indoors, and outdoors, as the microscopic PM10 particles can penetrate lungs and the bloodstream, and can cause asthma, lung cancer and other respiratory illnesses.

For more information on the study, visit the WHO’s website.

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