OTTAWA — Environmental lobbyists say a new report showing pollution kills more people around the world than war and infectious diseases is proof of why Canada needs to finally put in place enforceable national air quality standards.
The Lancet medical journal study suggests at least nine million people died around the globe in 2015 because of pollution.
It says air, soil and water pollution and exposure to toxic chemicals killed three times more people than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined and 15 times more people than war and violence.
While Canada has one of the lower death rates due to pollution compared with places like India and Somalia, Environmental Defence program manager Muhannad Malas says it is one of the few developed nations that doesn't have enforceable, legally binding national standards for air quality.
The Lancet report notes specific areas of concern in Canada for First Nations in northern Alberta and Ontario due to oil and gas development and chemical manufacturing.
Environment Minister Catherine McKenna has committed to updating the Canadian Environmental Protection Act next year and Malas said that is the perfect vehicle and the perfect time to finally step up and put strict limits on air pollution and exposure to toxic chemicals to protect Canadians.