When Earth Day meets smog, does anybody hear? Apparently not. ( Read more...Collapse )
Indeed, between 5 and 7 pm on Sunday evening across southern Ontario, the Ministry of the Environment's poor air quality threshold was surpassed in over 10 locations, including Toronto. At such levels of smog, warns the MOE's website, "sensitive people may experience irritation when breathing and possible lung damage when physically active; people with heart/lung disorders are at greater risk." Yet the MOE did not issue a media advisory or post a smog warning on its website.
"This is not good enough," says Jack Gibbons, chair of the Ontario Clean Air Alliance. He says air quality often hits the threshold without the province issuing a warning. (An AQI reading of 50 to 99 is considered poor.) "People need to be notified, especially those with respiratory problems," he says.
MOE officials say an advisory is only issued if smog is widespread and persistent over a few hours. While agreeing that Sunday's reading was widespread, they say it wasn't persistent. Dave Yap, senior science adviser for the MOE, says, "By the time we would have issued the warning, the hour would have been over." The MOE, he says, doesn't want to panic people.
But new research shows that even short exposure to smog can have serious effects. "A two-hour exposure to exhaust can cause a 6 per cent loss of lung function in an asthmatic," says Dr. Ted Boadway, former exec director of health policy at the Ontario Medical Association, quoting a new study commissioned by the Boston-based Health Effects Institute.
"Short exposure is a significant issue. Smog builds up over many hours and then disperses gradually. All those hours count." ( Read more...Collapse )
The problem, according to the HEI report, is that while short exposure to smog affects lung function, asthmatic symptoms don't necessarily occur. "By the time you show symptoms, you are in for serious problems," says Boadway, who now consults on the health effects of air pollution.
"When to pull the trigger on a health warning is a difficult question for all policy-makers," he says. "But as a physician, I know what happens to patients."
Other Related News...
Spring Heatwave in Europe
It was a great pleasure to have finally visited Hammarby this past summer, people have always said that "a picture worths a thousand words". So here I am, posting some of the field pictures with a hope to inspire more people in building sustainable communities. ~ V.Kam
Hammarby, an old district of industrial docks, is on the verge of transforming itself into a closed-system eco-town...
Hammarby-Sjostad, one of the vastest projects of development of the municipality of Stockholm, a strong control of town planning and environment, an architecture with vocation symbolic system of modernity, an environmental program which wants to be exemplary, the eco-cycle or “Hammarby-model”. ( Read more...Collapse )
Interactive graphic on the "Greenhouse effect" after a landmark report by former World Bank chief economist Sir Nichalos Stern predicted an unprecedented worldwide recession unless international action is taken to cut carbon emissions.
And for those of you who would like to dig deeper into the issue, please check out "The Little Green Handbook - Seven Trends Shaping the Future of Our Planet" by Ron Nielsen.
This is a historical moment we have all been waiting for. We have turned visions into realities. I am truly thankful to be one of the founders. ~ V.Kam
Desert wind a blowin'
Big agriculture is creating a planetary dust bowl – and our prairies are next
By WAYNE ROBERTS
This is the year, and June 17 is the special day, set aside by the United Nations to add another link to our worry beads as we prepare to see the world's drylands becoming deserts. Those who pay heed will learn that the future of food is between a rock and a dry place, the rock being the coming generation of 9 billion people who'll be looking for their next meal. And the dry place being the once productive food lands covering 40 per cent of the earth, home to a third of the world's population.
So far, only a small band of desert prophets based on the Canadian prairies – one of the planet's designated dryland hotspots, and, like most of these, long seen as a world breadbasket – see the trajectory.
In May, National Farmers Union president Stewart Wells sent an alert to senior UN officials. Just-in-time standards, he said, had reduced world grain reserves from enough to last 125 days in the mid-1980s to enough to last just 69 days now.
The age-old tradition of buying up and setting aside surplus in case of famine is being forsaken just as artificial fertilizers and irrigation are maxed out and our "cropland base is static or shrinking," Wells wrote from the NFU's Saskatchewan headquarters.
And Alberta fresh water expert David Schindler, credited with ringing the scientific alarm bell on phosphate and sulphur water pollution back in the 1970s and 80s, is now warning that the Canadian west, site of 60 per cent of Canada's farmland, lacks the water to serve the population keen to exploit its fossil fuels.
Dry humour is all that will soon be left for those who came up with schemes that didn't factor in the scarcity and pricelessness of the world's productive soil and fresh water. The facts about desertification reveal that the most powerful voices in today's world have planned as if there's no tomorrow. ( Read more...Collapse )
The historic rain that battered the Washington area claimed its first flooding victims, forced additional evacuations and endangered a dam yesterday, even as the weather front finally released its stubborn grip on the region.
The toll from the nearly four-day deluge was only starting to come into focus. Three people drowned in Frederick County, and two teenagers were missing and presumed dead from rain-swollen creeks. More than 2,000 people were evacuated from their homes in Montgomery County, where officials worried that a dam would fail. The rain also caused tens of millions of dollars in damage to homes and businesses.
Hydrological totals tell the story of what the region endured. Since the start of the weekend, 13.1 inches of rain has fallen in parts of the area. The series of storms broke the 24-hour, 48-hour and one-week records for rain at Reagan National Airport, the National Weather Service reported. ( Read more...Collapse )
I was completely shocked after listening to the news update on CBC radio this afternoon...
Tornado in Toronto? Wow.
June 10, 2006
CLIMATE change now poses a graver long-term security risk to Australia than terrorism, with a high likelihood it will produce destabilising civil conflict and unregulated population movements in Asia and the Pacific.
That is the conclusion of leading Australian security expert Alan Dupont, the co-author of a new study on climate change and security to be published next week.( Read more...Collapse )
now that summer is here, time to do some travel planning...
Storm sweeps southern Ontario
WEATHER Severe lightning storms, a torrential downpour and tornado warnings swept through southern ontario yesterday.
Even Environment Canada’s North York weather office felt the heat around 6p.m., when lightning struck
a power line near Dufferin Street and Steeles Avenue West. An hour later, a vehicle travelling west on Highway 401 onto the off-ramp at Leslie Street was struck by lightning, police said.
Marble-sized hail came down on parts of the GTA earlier in the day, after morning downpours. (Metronews)
And about one week ago it was only 12C (May 21st) in Toronto...
May 29th, 2006
Many Ontario residents were facing the first smog alert of the season on Monday.
Smog enfolds Toronto
Environment Canada warned that the air quality is expected to remain poor for the next few days and could be tough for people with breathing problems.
The first air quality advisory of 2006 was issued Sunday, and Hamilton recorded the highest air pollution readings in the province.
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Soldiers slogged through deep mud in northern Thailand on Thursday as they searched for bodies after flash floods killed more than 100 people.
The flooding, said to be the country's worst in 60 years, was caused by unusually heavy rains falling on deforested hills beginning late last week.
The worst hit province was Uttaradit, 500 km north of Bangkok, where 330 millimetres of rain fell in a 24-hour period.
Mudslides and flash floods inundated towns, destroyed houses and cut roads. Access to remote communities was made difficult because debris was making many roads impassable.
People have been stranded in their homes, on trains or in open country.
( Read more...Collapse )