Ontario uses a system called the Air Quality Index or AQI as an air quality monitor for the air in the Ontario province of Canada. Lower ratings mean better air quality.
The Ministry of the environment uses data gathered by its air monitoring stations around the province to report an AQI for many of the communities within the province of Ontario. These AQI reports are both reported to media news services along with being posted on the Ministrys web site hourly.
The Ministry of the Environment monitors and includes in the AQI what they consider the six key pollutants. The six key pollutants monitored are sulfur dioxide, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, the total reduced sulfur compounds, carbon monoxide and fine particulate matter. These six pollutants were chosen for their adverse effect on human beings and the environment.
A computer at the Ministry of the Environment receives the data collected by their network of monitoring stations around the province. The date is then compared to standards set for each of the six monitored pollutants. These standards are set scientifically and regularly updated. The standards set the maximum safe level of the specific pollutant. If the level is higher than the standard, the pollutant will have significant and undesirable effects on both the environment and human beings.
The data gathered is then converted into numbers ranging from 0-15 (very good) to 100 plus (very bad) for the AQI scale. The citizens of the Ontario province in Canada can use the AQI scale to plan their outdoor activities daily.
By the rating scale on the AQI people of Ontario will know how to plan their daily outdoor activities. If the AQI is between 0 and 15, they will know that there are no air quality reasons to stay away from outdoor activities. As the numbers rise on the AQI reports the citizens will know if there are any significant health reasons to plan their activities inside.
The Ministry of the Environment has taken on the responsibility of informing the citizens of the Ontario province in Canada of the air quality in and around the miscellaneous communities within the province. By taking on this responsibility, the Ministry of the Environment has the health of all the people within the province participating in or planning to take part in outdoor activities in their hands.
If the data gathered by the computer at the Ministry of the Environment from the stations in and around Ontario is not accurate then the AQI scale reported by the Ministry will not be accurate. This inaccuracy would put the health of thousands of Canadian citizens at risk.