#TorontoTransitCommission, #Toronto, #Montreal, #Vancouver, #Joe Mihevc, #Kevin Morton, #Andy Byford
Toronto, Sep 6 (Canadian-Media): The result of findings of high concentrations of pollutants in the TTC’s underground lines -- released earlier this year by the journal Environmental Science & Technology -- prompted Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) to invest $500,000 to study air quality in the subway system, media reports said.
According to the study, reported TheStar, concentrations of fine particulate matter on the Toronto subway system were found to be approximately 10 times the level found outside TTC stations and almost thrice higher than those on Montreal’s Metro and five times greater than those on Vancouver’s SkyTrain.
Kevin Morton, secretary-treasurer of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113 -- whose union is the TTC’s largest – said, “I don’t believe that (subway air is) safe for the worker who works there eight to 10 hours a day. I think it has long-term, detrimental effects on a worker’s health.”
Councillor Joe Mihevc, board member of TTC was quoted as saying, ““I think that you want to improve the quality in air systems wherever they are, and of course the TTC, there are hundreds of thousands of people who use it every day, so you want to make sure that that subway is functioning well, from an air quality point of view”.
Third-party consultants appointed, reported TTC board, to conduct the study over a one-year period will measure pollution levels in the subway system air as well as monitor the exposure of the transit workers who spend the most time underground.
Three air quality studies had been conducted by The TTC but the last one was done back in 1995.
Andy Byford, the CEO admitted that air quality studies by TTC should be done more frequently than every 22 years, but he said he was confident the new data would show that “not only is the air safe, but air quality has actually improved.”
Byford was quoted by the CityNews as saying, “We have been removing detraitis from the tunnel, clearing the tunnel walls of what’s called ‘tunnel fur’ which hasn’t been done before, to my knowledge,” said Byford. “We’ve also finished the rollout of the rocket trains. We’ve removed lots of garbage from the stations, which can potentially cause fire or dust.”
Toronto Public Health will reportedly carry out a separate assessment to determine the health risks posed to members of the public.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)