Ontario has not burned a single piece of coal in nearly three years and it has greatly improved the quality of life for those Canadians who live with asthma, says Asthma Society of Canada president Vanessa Foran.
In April of 2014, the last coal powered power plant in Ontario closed its doors for good, and when air emissions were measured the following year they found an 87% decrease in greenhouse gases as well as a massive decrease in mercury, sulfur oxide, and nitrogen oxide. But as a result of the closing of the coal plants, as every Ontario resident will know, energy costs rose around the province.
When the Ontario Clear Air Alliance came to be in 1997 it had one main goal, to completely rid their province of coal and all the problems that come with it, and since have moved on to getting the Pickering Nuclear Station to close its doors by 2018.
“When we started our campaign, people in Ontario who considered themselves to be politically astute, assumed that we didn’t have a chance to achieve a coal phase-out. And it is not surprising that they thought so. We were engaged in a David and Goliath battle,” said Jack Gibbons, director of the Ontario Clear Air Alliance to desmog.ca in 2014, following the closure of Ontario’s last coal power plant.
In 1998, air pollution was declared a public health crisis in Ontario as it was said to cause approximately 1,900 deaths per year in the province putting a drain on the healthcare system to the tune of $10-billion annually.
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“At the current rate of improvement, red alerts and ‘airpocalypses’ will remain a feature of many Chinese citizens’ lives for sometime to come,” Said Greenpeace East Asia climate and energy campaigner Dong Liansai in a press release.
China had promised in the start of 2016 that it would be working towards eliminating its dependency on coal energy, but in late 2016 these efforts drastically slowed. In October of 2016 levels of deadly PM2.5 in the air were higher than they were at the same point in previous year. In December, mainland cities in China, including Beijing, saw the second highest levels of air pollution ever recorded. As a result of the smog that blanketed China, entire cities were shut down and tens of thousands of people were stranded in airports.
Ontario, of course isn’t allowing in forgoing coal. In fact, there are countries that don’t rely on coal for electricity such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait but they still have a massive problem with air pollution. In Egypt the main problem comes with the dusty environment which accounts for roughly 90% of the yearly 35,000 air pollution related deaths, with the other percentage coming from mainly agriculture related pollutants.