Canada U.S. Border Air Quality is Poor
VERNON CLEMENT JONES
Globe and Mail Update
Air along the border between Canada and the United States
remains almost as polluted as it was four years ago, despite
pledges by both countries to clean it up, says a report
released by an international pollution watchdog.
The 2002 Report on Transboundary Air Quality, issued
Tuesday by an advisory board to the International Joint
Commission, notes that commitments were made by both federal
governments to reduce air pollution and toughen automobile-emission
A spokesman for the board said, however, that carcinogens
such as mercury and dioxin remain in roughly the same
concentrations in the air above southern Canada and the
northern United States.
The pollution is fuelled not only by exhaust emission
from millions of cars and the chimney stacks of industry,
but by the coal-burning electricity plants of Canada and
"What the report card shows," Ted Bailey said, "is that
there needs to be more monitoring of the presence of mercury
and other toxins like dioxin, which remains unmonitored."
Both Canadian and U.S. governments have commited themselves
to improving the monitoring of pollution emissions and
to introducing new legislation to curb the level of pollutants
spewing from the tailpipes of cars, the report says.
Nitrogen oxide, a major factor in the development of
acid rain, remains in unacceptably high concentrations,
Mr. Bailey told globeandmail.com Tuesday, saying it should
continue to spur the governments efforts to clean up the
The United States and Canada signed the Air Quality
Agreement in 1991 setting a framework for cross-border
co-operation on air-quality issues.
Progress has been slowed, however, by a reluctance by
both parties to restrict or eliminate coal-burning plants.
Environmentalist say that it is emission from those
plants, most often electricity-generation facilities,
that contributes, more than anything else, to the smog
in both countries.