NEWS: Nunavut May 11, 2018 - 8:00 am

Three Nunavut communities now rated hourly for air quality

Iqaluit, Kugluktuk and Arviat now on Air Quality Health Index program


Residents of Iqaluit, Kugluktuk and Arviat now have access to more information about the quality of the air they breathe.

The online federal Air Quality Health Index program launched this week in these three communities, the Government of Nunavut’s Department of Environment said on Thursday.

The AQHI measures the impact of air pollution on human health by reporting a number between 1 and 10+.

The higher the number, the more air pollution there is, along with an increased health risk.

The index will reflect such things as smoke and dust in the air.

The GN said the index will be valuable for elders and children who may be more sensitive to air pollution.

This ongoing program will also advise on how to adjust outdoor activities when air quality conditions change, the GN said.

The AQHI for Kugluktuk, Arviat and Iqaluit is currently available on the Government of Canada website and on the AQHI Canada phone app.

As of May 10, air quality was rated as “low risk” in the three Nunavut communities.

In 2014, during the infamous dumpcano fiasco in Iqaluit, when a huge mountain of garbage at the city’s overflowing dump burned out of control for months, local air quality became a big issue.

Residents feared the discharge of toxic dioxins and furans into the air around Iqaluit and Environment Canada staff began testing air quality.

The federal Environment Department first announced they would start hourly testing of air quality in Iqaluit in 2012.