Air Quality

What is the Problem?

Possible health effects due to smog include asthma, other respiratory problems, cancer, allergic reactions, eye, nose and throat irritations, and lung problems. Air quality also causes bad odours and lessens our visibility while driving. 

What Can You Do?

  • Reduce warm-up idling - Start driving after no more than 30 seconds of idling, assuming the windows of your vehicle are clear. Excessive idling is not good for your engine.
  • Turn it off after 10 seconds - Turn your engine off if you are going to be stopped for more than 10 seconds, except in traffic.
  • Minimize the use of remote car starters - These devices encourage you to start your vehicle before you are ready to leave, which means wasteful idling. Use a block heater - In temperatures below 0 C, use this device to warm up the engine before starting your vehicle. This will improve fuel efficiency and reduce exhaust emissions.
  • Spread the word - Talk to your family, friends and neighbours about the benefits of reduced idling. Encourage them to join you in saving money, protecting the environment and contributing to a healthier community

Have You Seen This Sign?

Anti-idling signs, such as the one on the right, have been installed throughout the City in areas such as City Hall, sports arenas and canal crossings.  They serve as a reminder to turn off your engine if you are stopped for more than 10 seconds, except in traffic.

St. Catharines Schools are Idle Free Zones

In the spring of 2007, the City of St. Catharines spearheaded an Anti-Idling education campaign in partnership with the District School Board of Niagara (DSBN), the Niagara Catholic District School Board (NCDSB) and the Niagara Region Public Health Department.

The Anti-Idling campaign included installing Anti-Idling signs at each school in St. Catharines and the distribution of informational brochures to all students.  Following the education campaign, follow-up monitoring of idling activity at the schools was conducted by City staff to assess the success of the education campaign.

This education campaign was successful in reducing idling activity by 50 per cent and reducing idling time to an average of three minutes.

Related Information

Download the Do Your Part Don't Idle factsheet.

Related Web Sites

Visit the Ontario Ministry of the Environment website.

Visit The Lung Association of Ontario website.

Visit the Air Quality Ontario website.

Visit the Ontario Drive Clean website.

Visit the Ontario Medical Association Smog-Wise website.

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Copyright © 2013 The Corporation of the City of St. Catharines