Regina’s air quality hit ‘high risk’ category Saturday morning: Environment Canada

Environment and Climate Change Canada issued a special air quality statement for the Regina on Saturday morning because of high level of nitrous oxide. (Liam O’Connor/CBC – image credit)

Environment and Climate Change Canada issued a special air quality statement for Regina Saturday morning, warning air quality levels in the city were poor due to high levels of nitrous oxide.

Environment Canada’s website shows the city reaching the “moderate risk” air quality category around 3 a.m. and the “high risk” category around 7 a.m. CST.

The agency’s special air quality statement ended around noon.

Justin Shaer, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, said the worsening air quality was likely the result of a specific weather pattern capturing industrial pollutants.

“It is rather a localized phenomenon right now, just in Regina. I believe there is some kind of plant or something there that can cause increased levels,” said Shaer.

“The weather situation that we’re dealing with right now, we just have a nice inversion — meaning warm air aloft [and] cold air below,” he said.

“Any particulates or pollutants in the air are kind of getting sandwiched or concentrated in this inversion, so that’s what’s really causing those air quality levels to increase.”

Shaer said the poor air quality should improve into the evening and night.

At the peak, air quality was rated as a seven on Environment Canada’s index, which is the lower end of the “high risk” category.

At that point, Environment Canada recommends anyone who is at risk from effects of poor air quality reduce or reschedule strenuous outdoor activities outdoors, while the general public should consider doing so if they experience symptoms such as coughing and throat irritation.

By early afternoon, the city’s air quality was rated a five on the scale, putting it in the “moderate risk” category.

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