The Canada-United States Air Quality Agreement: What You Need to Know
Air pollution is a pervasive problem that affects everyone`s health and the environment. In North America, the United States and Canada share a unique boundary, and the air quality on both sides of the border is affected by the activities of the other country. As a result, the two nations established the Canada-United States Air Quality Agreement, also known as the Air Quality Agreement or AQA, in 1991.
The goal of the agreement is to improve air quality and reduce air pollution by addressing transboundary air pollution issues that affect both countries. The AQA`s focus is on shared air pollutants, such as acid rain, ground-level ozone, and particulate matter, which can travel hundreds of miles from their sources and impact human and environmental health.
The agreement has several key provisions. One of them is to reduce the emissions of nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide, which contribute to acid rain. The AQA calls for both countries to reduce these emissions by 50 percent from 1990 levels. Another provision involves the reduction of volatile organic compounds, which contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone and are harmful to human health.
The AQA has been a successful agreement, with significant achievements in improving air quality on both sides of the border. Since the agreement`s inception, there has been a significant reduction in sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions, resulting in a decrease in acid rain. The agreement has also contributed to a decrease in ground-level ozone and particulate matter, which are linked to respiratory disease and other health problems.
The AQA also established a scientific and technical committee, which assesses the need for revisions to the agreement and provides recommendations for further reductions in air pollution. Since its establishment, the committee has made several recommendations, such as the inclusion of additional pollutants and the establishment of more stringent emission standards.
The AQA has been successful in improving air quality; however, challenges still exist. Climate change is affecting air quality, and both countries need to work together to address this issue. Additionally, new technologies and sources of air pollution, such as electric vehicles and biomass burning, require updated regulations and standards.
In conclusion, the Canada-United States Air Quality Agreement is an essential agreement that addresses transboundary air pollution issues and has contributed significantly to improving air quality on both sides of the border. The agreement`s success demonstrates the benefits of international cooperation and highlights the need for continued efforts to reduce air pollution.