As the temperature climbs up the thermometer, things are going to get very hot and humid in Montreal. Today especially, as the expected 31C high will break the record for hottest recorded temperature on this date.
But while many of us are worrying about the heat, another, less publicized aspect of the city's local atmosphere is putting people at risk: air pollution.
According to Simon-Pierre Landry, an emergency physician at l'Hôpital Laurentien in Ste-Agathe, who spoke with TVA about Montreal's smog-problem, the poor quality of Montreal's air is likely leading to the premature deaths of 1,500 Montrealers each and every year.
Yes, you read that right, a medical professional has gone on the record to say that 1,500 citizens are dying early every single year simply for breathing in the polluted air of Montreal.
No specific study or source was cited by Dr. Landry, so his projection could be hyperbolic, meant to alarm Montrealers into being more aware of the pollution situation of the city.
Still, lets not forget that Environment Canada released a smog warning for Montreal only two days ago, with the city's air quality deemed "poor" on that day. Montreal's air quality has risen up to the "moderate risk" level according to Environment Canada, which really isn't all that comforting.
By Saturday, we should be at a "low risk" level, but that isn't to say some damage hasn't already been done.
Dr. Landry notes how the presence of smog and pollution in the air can have an adverse health effect akin to smoking if repeatedly breathed in, and pointing out the severe risk for those with existing respiratory problems.
And when the city's air quality is deemed poor, the danger of experiencing a stroke or heart attack jumps up by a whopping 30%. Taking all of this into consideration, so the short and long-term effects of living in a city with a fluctuating level of air pollution, one can better understand Dr. Landry's estimation.
The extreme heat we'll be experiencing in the days to come certainly won't be helping the situation, either.
So what can we do to ameliorate this issue and improve Montreal's air quality? Well, as Environment Canada notes, by doing simple things like taking public transit, driving at a slower speed when you can, and never letting your engine idle. Small actions can have large repercussions, after all.