Toronto's Air Quality Currently Among the Worst in the World

A report from a global organization that reports real-time air quality information says Toronto is one of the worst cities in the world for air quality.

Foggy morning in Toronto

Image via Getty/Roland Shainidze Photography

Foggy morning in Toronto

In case you couldn’t tell by the thick miasma of fog enveloping the city, Toronto’s air quality is really, really bad right now. Like, bad by global standards. The latest rankings from IQAir, a global organization that reports real-time air quality information, currently show Toronto placing sixth among the cities with the worst air quality, just behind Jakarta, Dubai, Delhi, and Lahore.

The next Canadian city to show up on the list is Vancouver at 89th place.

According to Environment Canada, the smoke from forest fires in northern Ontario could impact the air quality across the province.

“High levels of air pollution due to smoke from forest fires are possible today. Smoke plumes may move over southern Ontario from forest fires in northwestern Ontario. Air quality may deteriorate if the smoke descends to ground level,” the agency said.  

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry reported that there are currently a shocking 117 active fires happening in the Ontario, and that the provice has apparently seen a concerning number of 724 fires this season. 

As of this morning, 117 fires were active #ForestFires across Ontario, 103 of these are in the Northwest region. #Ontario has seen a total of 724 fires this season as compared to 414 last year on this date. The 10 year average is 458 fires by July 18.

— Ontario Forest Fires (@ONforestfires) July 18, 2021

Environment Canada recommends avoiding exposure to wildfire smoke, as it smoke contains several chemicals that can be harmful to your health. “Symptoms include throat irritation, headaches, shortness of breath, or increased coughing—children, seniors, and anyone with lung or cardiovascular disease are especially at risk.”

Due to the growing forest fires, hazy conditions and reduced visibility will be noticeable if the smoke comes closer to the ground. The agency warns residents to reduce their exposure to the potentially hazardous atmosphere, especially those with existing lung and heart issues.

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