Montrealers can breathe a sigh of relief to learn their air is less polluted than previously thought — due in part to a pizza oven that was skewing air quality readings.
An environmental report released this week shows the number of days with poor air quality plunged last year, right after the city closed a sampling station that was next to a pizzeria with a wood-burning oven.
The city registered 29 days of bad quality air in 2016, compared to 64 the year prior.
The annual report by Montreal's air quality surveillance network estimates that smoke from the pizzeria was responsible for half or more of the station's poor air quality readings every year since 2013.
In 2015, for example, the report found 34 of the 42 days where poor quality air was recorded at that location were actually due to the restaurant.
The report's authors say the data began to improve after the particular station closed. It did not record any data in 2016.
"This sad record was due to emissions of fine particulate matter coming from a wood-fired oven in the pizzeria next door, whose smoke at certain times was directed straight towards the sampling probe," read the report, released Wednesday.
Even without the pizzeria, the report found air quality was improving across the city, thank in part to the city's efforts to regulate industrial pollutants, limit wood heating, promote electric vehicles and improve public transit.
There were also fewer pollutants coming from Ontario and the United States, the city said in a statement.
The Canadian Press
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