Outdoor Air Pollution

Air pollution is a broad term applied to any chemical, physical, or biological agent that modifies the natural characteristics of the atmosphere. Examples include particulate matter and ground-level ozone. Climate change and stratospheric ozone depletion are related issues of concern.


Common Air pollutants 

Air pollutants fall into four main categories: smog pollutants, persistent organic pollutants, heavy metals and toxics. Individual pollutants differ from one another in their chemical composition, reactions with other chemicals, sources, persistence, ability to travel through the atmosphere, and impacts.

Factors, such as temperature, humidity, wind patterns, and precipitation, affect the form pollutants take and distance they travel. A pollutant released at one source could impact air quality hundreds or even thousands of kilometres away.

Smog pollutants that can affect air quality include:

Changes in emissions composition and levels over time can affect air quality. Learn about air quality:

Access Air Quality Content

The map below illustrates an example of air quality related data available through the Open Science and Data Platform.

Click on the button below to access this data and other air related content.

Search for air quality content
Map Showing Average Ambient Fine Particulate Matter Concentrations at Monitoring Stations in Canada

This map is for illustrative purposes. The markers represent the approximate locations based on available data. The Government of Canada shall not be held liable for any third party’s interpretation of the Information. The Government of Canada reserves the right to change or revise the Information at any time.

This data was produced by Environment and Climate Change Canada. The air quality indicators track ambient concentrations of fine particulate matter, ground-level ozone, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and volatile organic compounds at the national, regional and urban levels and at local monitoring stations.