Air quality improved last year in Montreal (the pandemic helped)

The city recorded 21 days with poor air quality in 2020, 22 fewer than in 2019 and the lowest reported number since 2014.

The Montreal Gazette 1 minute read June 11, 2021

Light traffic is seen on Decarie Expressway in Montreal, on Tuesday, April 21, 2020. Allen McInnis / Montreal Gazette

Air quality in the city of Montreal improved in 2020, although the city acknowledges that while its efforts to cut down on pollution helped, the COVID-19 pandemic also played a role in driving down the numbers.

“Once again this year, the city of Montreal can congratulate itself on the good air quality on its territory,” the city said in a statement Friday. “Thanks to the efforts of the past few years, coupled with the slowdown of activities because of the health crisis, the result for 2020 is positive.”

The city recorded 21 days with poor air quality in 2020, 22 fewer than in 2019 and the lowest reported number since 2014.

A ban by the city in 2018 on the use of wood-burning stoves and fireplaces is also being credited with driving down the number of smog days recorded during the winter.

The city announced it will spend $1.2 million on improving its air-quality monitoring network, adding a mobile air quality testing station to its network of 19 fixed stations in the city. Those stations are also scheduled to be upgraded.

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