hide You are viewing an archived web page, collected at the request of University of Alberta using Archive-It. This page was captured on 16:34:16 Dec 08, 2010, and is part of the HCF Alberta Online Encyclopedia collection. The information on this web page may be out of date. See All versions of this archived page.
Heritage Community Foundation Presents
Alberta Online Encyclopedia
Top Left of Navigation Bar The Nature of Alberta Logo
Species at Risk in AlbertaView our site layout to navigate to specific areasSearch our site for informationObtain help for navigating our sitePlease emails us your questions and comments!View our partners that helped us in this project

Ecosystems OverviewEnvironmental IssuesGeological History of AlbertaAlberta's Natural RegionsAdditional Resources
Visit Alberta Source!
Visit the Heritage Community Foundation
Visit Canada's Digital Collections

Air Quality Concerns Today 

Despite great advances in consumer awareness and air quality controls, there are several areas that remain of particular concern.

Car clip artInternal Combustion Engine:  In spite of the many improvements to the engines of cars and trucks, vehicles are still a major contributor to air pollution in Alberta.  This is because of the increasing numbers of vehicles in use.  Exhaust fumes contain carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen, and particulate matter.  A single engine gives off  relatively small amounts of pollutants.  However, there are so many cars and trucks that the small amounts add up to a significant pollution problem.

Acidic Deposition:  Commonly referred to as acid rain, thisAcid Rain Clip art situation arises when sulphur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen are dispersed into the atmosphere.  They mix with water in the atmosphere and then fall to earth in precipitation.  Sometimes gases mix with particles in the air and fall to earth as dry deposition.  These become acids when they contact soil moisture.  Sources of acid forming particles include the internal combustion engine, oil and natural gas processing and the burning of coal.

Indoor Air Pollution:  In some industries, the manufacturing process can produce smoke, dust particles, chemical fumes and poisonous gases.  Proper ventilation and filtration can remove these hazards from the air.  However, in many homes and offices air pollution is a definite hazard.  New homes, schools, and buildings are often constructed to conserve heat.  This can result in the air becoming stale and the build-up of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and particulate matter.

Chemicals clipartSome building products also give off harmful gases.  Urea-formaldehyde foam insulation releases formaldehyde gas which can cause severe illness.  Radioactive radon gas is given off by concrete, brick, stone and soil.  High concentrations of radon gas can cause lung cancer.  Other substances that change indoor air quality include adhesives and glues used in building panels, paints, carpets, furniture and aerosols.  Smokers add to these emissions by putting carbon monoxide, particulate matter, carcinogens, and carbon dioxide into indoor air.

All buildings should have adequate ventilation to reduce harmful emissions.  Air for furnaces or fireplaces should be drawn from the outside.  Smokers should smoke only in well ventilated areas where their emissions will not become part of the building's air circulation.

Reprinted from Focus On Air Quality  (1993) with permission of Alberta Environment.

Albertasource.ca | Contact Us | Partnerships
            For more on the natural history of Alberta, visit Peel’s Prairie Provinces.
Copyright © Heritage Community Foundation All Rights Reserved