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June 2009
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Toronto's Clean Air Commute Week 2009

That is the slogan for the 2009 Pollution Probe Clean Air Commute Week; contribute nothing to pollution. It is an attempt to get individuals to re-think how they travel to work everyday. Instead of driving, carpool, drive a hybrid, bike, walk, take transit or telecommute.

I started my week off by riding my bike to work. Tomorrow I think will be a transit day. And then hopefully alternate bike-transit until the end of the week (I play ultimate Frisbee on Tuesday and Thursday and it’s never safe to bike to the fields).

Smog is all around us

Why is Pollution Probe asking us all to change our commuting habits? Because of the increased levels of smog. Smog originally known as a mix of smoke and fog, it is now more commonly known as a noxious mixture of air pollutants, including vapours, gases and particles that can often be seen as a yellowish-brown haze in the air.

Some quick facts about Pollution Probes Clean Air Commute Week:

  • Began in 1993
  • Registered over 650 GTA workplaces
  • Saved over 4,000 tonnes of air pollutants from going into the air (NOx, SOx, VOCs, CO, CO2) (since 2000 when reporting of pollutants was introduced to the event)
  • Over 80,000 diary cards returned by participating employees.
  • On average, between 70-80% of the individuals who switched from driving alone to a cleaner mode of transportation during the event said they intend to continue on a permanent basis (based on surveying done since reporting began in 2001). Over the past 16 years, the event has succeeded in switching thousands of people to public transit, carpooling, biking, walking and telecommuting.

With an estimated 500,000 cars travelling on the 401 everyday programs like this are needed to remind us that every little bit makes a difference