Monday, February 11, 2013

Canada Updates Air Quality Standards

Canada's environment ministers have announced a new agreement to update air quality standards for the first time in 20 years, starting with SO2, NO2 and volatile organic compounds, which are among the main contributors to smog.

The agreement contains two parts: guidelines that set limits on the presence of certain pollutants in the atmosphere, and industrial requirements that govern emissions from different sectors. Industries such as forestry and mining have already agreed on their levels. Negotiations with some industrial sectors to set limits on their emissions are on-going, though.

While the agreement is national in scope, it will be implemented by the provinces, which will be able to interpret it differently to suit their circumstances. Quebec has not signed the agreement, but has promised to work with other provinces and supports the general goals of the standards.

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