Researchers discover air quality fluctuations within Calgary city limits
Published Thursday, February 22, 2018 9:55PM MST
After monitoring air quality within the city of Calgary, a University of Calgary research team has discovered air pollution patterns tied to the seasons and variances in air quality related to traffic.
The researchers installed more than 100 air detectors throughout the city to measure and map pollution levels.
The team discovered the northeast quadrant of the city is prone to poorer air during the summer months while neighbourhoods south of the Bow River experienced increased air pollution during the winter. The pollution about-face is attributed to wind and weather patterns.
A noticeable difference in air quality was detected near major thoroughfares with heavy vehicular traffic.
“It is important because we know air pollution has a lot of implications on health,” said Rizwan Shahid, who co-authored the study.
“When we walk, if we walk near a major road, we breathe worse air than if we were to walk far from it, a couple hundred metres,” explained Stefania Bertazzon, a geography professor at the University of Calgary. “
Calgary covers approximately 800 square kilometres of space and there are only three continuous air quality monitoring stations. Shahid says additional permanent stations would provide invaluable information.
“If we do not have fine resolution air quality data, how are we going to link it with different health outcomes or health problems.”
Bertazzon says Calgary, as a whole, has above-average air quality. “A lot of our air comes from B.C. and the northwest United States,” said Bertazzon. “Even if we live in a quadrant that doesn’t seem to be the greatest one, we are still doing well there.”
With files from CTV’s Stephanie Wiebe