The Gomberg for Mayor platform plank on Smog: Smog kills
Each year, as many as 1,400 premature deaths and 7,600 hospital admissions in the City of Toronto are associated with air pollution (Toronto Public Health, 2000). Many more people experience asthma symptoms and respiratory infections, but are not admitted to hospital.
The value of a human life is incalculable, but air pollution adds an extra $1 billion in costs each year to Canada’s health care system, and time spent in hospital or otherwise hobbled by smog is a blow to productivity. While smog is first and foremost a health issue, it is also an economic issue, and one that is costing taxpayers billions of dollars.
In Toronto, nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is the air pollutant with the greatest adverse impact on human health; and the transportation sector, especially cars, is the major source of NO2.
As Mayor of the City of Toronto, I will make clean air a top priority and promote transportation al-ternatives through:
- smarter land-use planning, including mixed-use development, and higher densities, so that we won’t have to burn a litre of gasoline to buy a litre of milk.
- better conditions for pedestrians and cyclists, so that walking to the corner store is an enjoyable experience, and our children can cycle to school in safety.
- For longer-distance trips, Torontonians need fast, frequent, reliable transit service. Unfortu-nately, because of funding cutbacks, the TTC has been forced to reduce service by 10% since 1990. As Mayor, I will fight to increase funding for the TTC by $15 million a year for 3 years to restore service to 1990 levels, and then expand funding. (See our transportation platform for more details.)
Attention must also be given to power generation.
As Mayor of Toronto, I would:
- call for the closing of the Lakeview coal-fired power plant, and I would
- call for Toronto Hydro to aggressively promote energy efficiency/conservation to help phase out coal and to reduce electricity bills. The energy conservation programs of Enbridge Consumers Gas and Union Gas are reducing residential, commercial, institutional and industrial energy bills by over $100 million per year. Now that’s an impressive start.