Letters: Sudbury's clean air a blessing that everyone should have

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Re: ‘Even air that’s a little dirty can be deadly,’ Feb. 20.

My family is all too familiar with the impacts of air pollution.

My youngest daughter was born and raised in Sudbury. She does not have asthma. But her two elder sisters, both born in London, Ont., in the mid-1990s, have lifelong asthma and must carry puffers at all times.

We moved to Sudbury in 1999 because my eldest daughter, Nikhita, was severely asthmatic and turned blue in my arms several times for lack of air. It was terrifying. I spent many a night listening to her cough when she was a toddler worrying that she would have yet another severe asthmatic attack. My health was being impacted, too, by stress and lack of sleep.

Nikhita was eventually put on maximum dosages of asthma medication at age two but the medications had lots of side effects that worried me a lot. I read infant-books to Nikhita when she was one day old and she paid attention. It was uncanny to watch her look at the books and listen to me when she was a newborn baby. I saw a dramatic decrease in the attention span of my daughter when she was on the asthma medications. Asthma medications are known to interfere with proper sleep cycles, which, in turn, can impact learning. At age two, when on these medications, she could no longer sit for storytime.

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The air quality in southern Ontario at that time was terrible and I knew it. We moved to Sudbury in 1999, leaving behind my entire big-Italian family in southern Ontario and all my professional connections because I was so concerned about the health of my children.

We were lucky that we could relocate because after moving up here; Nikhita’s asthma mostly disappeared except when she exercised vigorously in the cold, was exposed to any kind of smoke, or cat dander, or visited southern Ontario. At age three, she was breathing clean air up here in Sudbury and I was reading full chapter books to her. She could sit and listen to stories for hours again. What a relief.

Not everyone can relocate and they shouldn’t have to do so. It should be the right of every person on this planet to breathe clean air. Greed and ignorance are inexcusable excuses in the 21st century to damage the health of human beings, especially innocent children, with pollution.

The human cost of pollution is too high but the solution is right in front of us: put a price on it.

It is time for everyone to listen to the experts, such as pediatrician Dr. Elaine Blacklock, and work together to make sure everyone has a clean environment using the best evidence available. This also includes listening to the 28 Nobel Prize-winning economists and thousands of economists around the world who support a gradually rising fee on carbon pollution with the money collected rebated back to the people – which is Canada’s carbon pricing policy.

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Canada’s carbon pricing policy is the envy of the world because it is evidence-based, will not burden low- and middle-income families, and lastly, it will reduce income inequality, which must be part of building back better post-COVID.

Cathy Orlando

Program Director, Citizens’ Climate International

Director, Citizens’ Climate Lobby Canada

Sudbury

Having cleaner air is just common sense

Re: ‘Even air that’s a little dirty can be deadly,’ Feb. 20.

It’s so simple, really.

Clean up the air, and you get better health.

Clean up the air, and you get better water.

Clean up the air, and you get better land.

Clean it all up, and you get better economics.

It’s not political, it’s common sense.

I am tired of the old political battles over the proven: it’s time to move on from polluting and support all policies that clean up the air, water, and land.

Carole Lavallee

Chelmsford

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