Smog Summit keynote speakers address air quality solutions |
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An unprecedented number of politicians from the regional governments in the
Greater Toronto Area joined forces with the City of Toronto, the Province of
Ontario and the Government of Canada to sign the Toronto 2002
Inter-Governmental Declaration on Clean Air, report on progress, and make new
commitments to combatting smog. The partnership has expanded to include
signatories from all four regional governments plus 13 towns and cities.
A Citizens' Declaration on Clean Air and a call-to-action was also presented
to government officials by a citizens' panel representing the community, youth,
business, education and health fields. Residents who participated in one of six
smog citizens' forums held across the City and the GTA were for the first time,
part of the decision-making process, and came up with solutions that
government, industry and the community could take to curb smog.
"This is good news because the fight to reduce Toronto's air pollution requires
the cooperation of all levels of government, industry and the community," said
Councillor Brad Duguid (Ward 38 Scarborough Centre) and new chair of the City
of Toronto's Works Committee, on behalf of the Mayor and City Council. "The
overwhelming support at this year's Smog Summit is proof that more people are
concerned about the environment and want quick action on improving air quality."
Helene Margolis, a researcher and epidemiologist at the University of
California, shared the results of a ground-breaking, ten-year children's health
study that showed, for the first time, a causal relationship between smog and
asthma in healthy children. Children who breathed heavily-polluted air were up
to three times more likely to develop asthma than children who breathed cleaner
air. Especially vulnerable were children who exercised or were active outdoors,
as they tended to breathe more rapidly and inhale more pollutants.
"As a Smog Summit partner, the Government of Canada remains committed to
reducing the health effects of air pollution by implementing measures to
achieve cleaner air for Canadians today and for the future", said Karen Redman,
Member of Parliament for Kitchener Centre and Parliamentary Secretary for the
Environment on behalf of Environment Minister David Anderson. "Every level of
government, every organization and every individual has a role to play in
improving air quality."
"Making progress in transportation is absolutely key to addressing smog in our
major cities," said the Honourable David Collenette, Federal Minister of
Transport, from his office. "The steps we are taking are also helping to deal
with congestion in our urban areas and climate change."
"This summit is proof that we are all committed to clean air," said Environment
and Energy Minister Chris Stockwell. "Ontario is already known by medical and
environmental groups for having Canada's best air quality monitoring system,
but we are dedicated to making it better."
"With greater emphasis on broad community involvement and more GTA
jurisdictions on board, the Greater Toronto Area Clean Air Council (GTA-CAC)
will continue to explore opportunities for joint initiatives across Canada and
share best practices on smog reduction," said event organizer, Eva Ligeti,
Executive Director of the Clean Air Partnership.
Smog Summit 2002 was sponsored by the City of Toronto, the Province of
Ontario's Ministry of the Environment, the Government of Canada, Enbridge
Consumers Gas, Toronto Hydro, the Toronto Atmospheric Fund, the Clean Air
Partnership, and the GTA Clean Air Council.