Federal, provincial and municipal governments meet at fifth annual Smog Summit to examine clean air solutions|
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The fifth annual Smog Summit in Toronto today brought together all levels of
government in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), to report on accomplishments and
to share new smog and energy reduction initiatives. Commitments to a variety of
joint actions were made through the signing of the Toronto and Region 2004
Inter-governmental Declaration on Clean Air.
The Toronto and Region 2004 Inter-governmental Declaration on Clean Air
includes initiatives such as exploring energy retrofit measures in buildings
and facilities; promoting ENERGY STARÒ corporate procurement policies;
promoting the development of supplies of green power (solar, wind, small scale
hydro), and; raising awareness about the benefits of reducing engine idling.
The Smog Summit began in 2000 as a meeting of federal, provincial and Toronto
officials to explore best practices for reducing smog, air pollution and
greenhouse gases. It has grown to a gathering of 25 different governments in
the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) committing to specific actions that reduce smog,
identifying mutually beneficial opportunities and sharing best practices.
Participants in a roundtable of municipal politicians, moderated by well known
news anchor Suhana Meharchand, engaged in discussion and showcased success
stories on topics ranging from transportation, energy, business, industry and
government, natural and built environment, to education and outreach.
A notable example of a flourishing GTA-wide education program is 20/20 The Way
to Clean Air, which encourages people to reduce home energy and vehicle use by
20 per cent each. Health units are working together to implement 20/20 across
the GTA. Program materials have been adapted for use by teachers as part of the
Toronto District School Board's EcoSchools initiative, and are shared with
other school boards as well.
"This government is committed to significantly reducing emissions of
smog-causing pollutants that endanger public health," Ontario's Environment
Minister Leona Dombrowsky said. "Earlier today I announced a Five-Point Plan
for Cleaner Air that will better protect our health and the environment by
ensuring industrial sectors do their part to reduce emissions of harmful
"I am pleased to announce that the City of Toronto is embarking on a major
retrofit of its portfolio of buildings, facilities and arenas," said Toronto
Mayor David Miller. "We reduce our need to burn fossil fuels, and the annual
savings from using less energy helps pay for the initial retrofit work. It's
"There are now several hundred published studies linking air pollution with
human illness. We are all exposed to smog with every breath we take," said
keynote speaker Dr. David McKeown, Medical Officer of Health, Peel Region.
"Because of the enormous number of people affected, smog is a serious public
"Enbridge and its employees are proud to deliver natural gas solutions that
help improve the quality of the air we breathe," said Jim Schultz, President of
Enbridge Gas Distribution, a founding sponsor of the Smog Summit. "The Smog
Summit provides a forum for important dialogue on strategies our community can
implement on the path to clean air."
"The Toronto and Region 2004 Intergovernmental Declaration on Clean Air sets
out joint smog reduction actions. Both the joint and the individual smog
reduction efforts announced at today's Smog Summit are necessary for healthier
and cleaner air in the GTA," commented Eva Ligeti, executive director of the
Clean Air Partnership.
Smog Summit 2004 was sponsored by Enbridge Gas Distribution, the Government of
Canada, the Government of Ontario, the City of Toronto, the Toronto Atmospheric
Fund, Toronto Hydro, the Clean Air Partnership and the Greater Toronto Area
Clean Air Council (GTA-CAC).
Eva Ligeti, Executive Director, Clean Air Partnership, 416-392-1220