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Air Quality Control 

People, industry, and government have all recognized the need to control the amount and type of emissions put into the air.  In Alberta government and industry have worked together to measure and control emissions.  In Edmonton and Calgary, as well as a number of smaller centres, a network of air monitoring stations has been established.  These stations monitor carbon monoxide, ozone, nitrogen oxide, sulphur dioxide, and particulates.

Government inspectors investigate when one or more of these emissions exceeds established limits.  If the emissions are from a single industry, action is taken.  The government works with the industry to prevent further pollution problems.  This could mean the industry is required to improve the operation of pollution control equipment or install new pollution control devices.  Failure to comply may result in the industry being fined or closed until pollution control devices are installed.

If high pollution readings are the result of atmospheric conditions, the government may require all industries to restrict emissions or temporarily reduce operations.  When conditions return to normal, the industries may start up again.

Air quality has improved in the past decade.  Alberta's two major sources of pollutants, vehicle exhaust and gas and oil processing, have been reduced.  Cars and trucks have more efficient engines with pollution control devices.  Cars use unleaded gas which reduces pollution.  Oil and gas processors are required by government to apply the best practical technology to reduce emissions.  This means using efficient and effective pollution control devices to allow businesses to remain competitive while reducing emissions.  For example, the sulphur from sour gas is sold to make fertilizers.  Pollution control can pay.

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

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