Ecology Ottawa's Breathe Easy Campaign
Breathing clean air is vital to our physical health, but is a growing challenge with the rise of pollutants in our atmosphere. Although we rarely see it, air pollution is one of the most significant environmental challenges impacting public health, and one of the most avoidable causes of death and disease globally. Air pollution leads to disease, increased hospitalizations, and even premature death from stroke, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer and acute respiratory infections.
People most at risk for health effects include seniors because age weakens the heart, lungs and immune system and increases the likelihood of health problems such as heart and lung disease. Children are also more vulnerable to air pollution: they have less-developed respiratory and defense systems. Because of their size, they inhale more air per kilogram of body weight than adults. This means that they are particularly vulnerable whilst travelling in and moving around diesel school buses.
In light of these worrying statistics, and in view of the fact that in Ottawa there is only a single air quality monitoring station downtown, over 2020 and 2021 Ecology Ottawa ran a community-led air quality monitoring program across the city with over 100 volunteers involved each year. We are thrilled to be re-launching our community-led air monitoring project again this year. Stay tuned for the launch of Breathe Easy 2023!