THE WAY WE GREEN GOAL: Edmonton's air sustains healthy people and healthy ecosystems. 


Many sources and factors impact Edmonton's air quality. Like many large cities, there are days when air quality in Edmonton is worse than other days, and on some days Edmonton's air quality has exceeded federally set limits for Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5) - a pollutant. Exceeding these limits required the provincial government to lead the development of a plan to reduce levels below the limits. In December 2014, the Alberta Government completed the Capital Region Fine Particulate Matter Response Plan to reduce ambient fine particulate matter concentration, and implementation of the response plan is ongoing. The City of Edmonton is working on 26 26 actions in that plan, such as the expansion of the LRT network. In 2015 the federal government replaced the standards for PM2.5 and Ozone with the new, more stringent Canadian Air Quality Standards. The new standards have lowered short-term limits and introduced long-term exposure limits to further protect both our health and our environment. In 2015 the three monitoring stations used to evaluate these trends were all in the "orange" level.


Environment Week in Edmonton is a whirlwind of activities celebrating a sustainable Edmonton and Environment Week 2015 was no different. A major event on the Environment Week calendar is Clean Air Day, an annual event that falls on the Wednesday of Environment Week. On June 3rd, Mayor Don Iveson officially proclaimed Clean Air Day in Edmonton. The proclamation was made in front of City Hall to a crowd of citizens and City Hall School students who enthusiastically chanted “We care about clean air!”

The other star of Environment Week was ‘green art’ designed to celebrate clean air. Three public art installations were created to raise awareness of Clean Air Day and to contribute to improving Edmonton’s air quality. The public art consisted of a moss bench and two moss bicycles placed around downtown as visual reminders of Edmonton’s commitment to clean air and the steps Edmontonians can take to support air quality. The public art was also practical since moss is a plant with the ability to absorb air pollution and improve air quality. “The City is very committed to improving Edmonton’s air quality and we are actively working with our regional partners to develop innovative programs to do so,” said Mayor Don Iveson. “These art installations are an original way to engage Edmontonians and illustrate practical things people can do to help improve our air quality.” The installations were a huge hit with the public.


Students truly are our future. Educating children about environmental sustainability is vital due to their role as environmental stewards and engaged citizens. Clean Air Responsible Schools, also known as CARS, is a program that educates elementary school children in Alberta about air quality, greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. Presented by Inside Education and the Alberta Capital Airshed, CARS educates elementary school children about air quality and excites them about taking action in their schools and communities. This year’s pilot program worked with 25 classrooms of Grade 5 students in Edmonton and Calgary schools. The students were educated about the link between vehicle idling and air quality and then challenged to create a campaign to educate their parents, other students, bus drivers and other stakeholders about how responsible vehicle idling can help air quality around their schools.. The students learned, researched by taking air quality samples and contributed to their communities through environmental activism. The hands-on, student-led and citizen science based program received rave reviews from students and teachers alike.


Click here to watch the World Health Organization highlight the impacts of air pollution.


Edmonton’s ambient air quality monitoring network is operated by the provincial government and various industrial operations. In 2015 the Alberta Capital Airshed added another stationary air quality monitor to its network in Ardrossan, Strathcona County. This brings the total monitoring stations in the region's network to 8. The stations monitor various pollutants such as: carbon monoxide, particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, ground level ozone, sulphur dioxide, hydrogen sulphide, methane and total hydrocarbons, depending on the station.

A map of the current monitoring stations in the Alberta Capital Airshed is available at:

The Alberta Capital Airshed (ACA) is one of the nine airsheds in the province of Alberta. The ACA has 3 main functions: air quality monitoring, managing air quality issues and educating about air quality.The ACA education program spreads different information about Edmonton’s air quality through their website and presentations to different groups. Some of the information the ACA shares is about the contaminants that pollute the air and what the health impacts of those pollutants are. The ACA also uses the Air Quality Health Index to help Edmonton residents to understand the appropriate measures to reduce contact with harmful pollutants. Gary Redmond, the executive director of the ACA, says that for him, the intersection of sustainability and air quality are found between the complex problem of having both successful industrial development and healthy urban environments.

DID YOU KNOW: The Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) is an information tool for the public that relates air quality to people's health on a simple 1 to 10 scale. The risk categories and numbers imply a continuum of health risk due to outdoor air pollution. The higher the number, the greater the risk and your need to take precautions.

The AQHI reports information in near-real time as well as provides a forecast for the next day. For more information visit Alberta Environment and Parks.