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Canadian cities suffer poor air quality due to wildfires

Ottawa, Mar 19 (Prensa Latina) Air quality in Canada is worse than in the United States due to wildfires that ravaged the country by 2023, according to a new study released on Tuesday.

The sixth annual World Air Quality Report revealed that such indicator in Canada in 2023 was worse than that recorded in the US, for the first time in history.

Of the 15 most polluted cities in the two countries, 14 are in Canada, led by Fort McMurray and Peace River, joined by Yellowknife, Edmonton, Saskatoon and Canmore.

“In 2023, air quality in North America had been significantly influenced by the extensive Canadian wildfires that raged from May to October and burned an area about half the size of Germany,” CTV News briefing reviewed.

“Last year was the first instance in the history of that report, in which Canada outperformed the United States in regional pollution rankings,” it reaffirms.

The research delved specifically into PM2.5, which are small but dangerous air particles that can include emissions from gasoline, oil, diesel fuel and wood burning.

When inhaled, PM2.5 can penetrate deep into the lungs; thus it is linked to asthma, cancer, lung and other respiratory diseases.

In Alberta alone, a province located in western Canada, PM2.5 levels in May 2023 were nearly nine times higher than in the same period in 2022, according to the report.

Accurately speaking, 41% of Canadian cities recorded levels twice the World Health Organization (WHO) air quality guidelines.

About 4% of Canada’s forests were burned in the 2023 wildfires, where more people had been evacuated and more area had been burned than in any previously recorded season.

The study also found that only seven countries met WHO air quality guidelines: Australia, Estonia, Finland, Grenada, Iceland, Mauritius, and New Zealand.

ef/omr/npg/adr

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