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Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators
Canadians' health and their social and economic well-being are fundamentally linked to the quality of their environment. Recognizing this, in 2004 the Government of Canada committed to establishing national indicators of freshwater quality, air quality and greenhouse gas emissions. The goal of these new indicators is to provide Canadians with more regular and reliable information on the state of their environment and how it is linked with human activities. Environment Canada, Statistics Canada and Health Canada are working together to develop and communicate these indicators. Reflecting the joint responsibility for environmental management in Canada, this effort has benefited from the co-operation and input of the provinces and territories.
The indicators in this first annual report are as follows:
The air quality indicator tracks Canadians' exposure to ground-level ozonea key component of smog and one of the most common and harmful air pollutants to which people are exposed.
The greenhouse gas emissions indicator tracks the annual releases of the six greenhouse gases that are the major contributors to climate change. The indicator comes directly from the greenhouse gas inventory report prepared by Environment Canada for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol.
The freshwater quality indicator reports the status of surface water quality at selected monitoring sites across the country. For this first report, the focus of the indicator is on the protection of aquatic life, such as plants, invertebrates and fish.