Goal A Improve Our Air Quality

Air Quality logo of wind

To be proactive by partnering with community groups, industry and other levels of government to improve Windsor’s air and water quality.

Clean air improves human health and mitigates climate change. It is essential for the well-being of vulnerable populations, namely children and older adults, who make up more than one third of Windsor’s population. Outdoor air pollution is mainly caused by emissions due to the combustion of fossil fuels for industry, transportation, space heating and power generation. Along with government actions, addressing the issue of air pollution will require cooperation from the local community. The objectives below are intended to drive economic prosperity through the implementation of various air pollution reduction measures. Together, the municipal government and Windsorites can help address this trans-boundary issue and contribute to mitigation of this global problem.

The Environmental Master Plan outlines 9 objectives to improve Windsor’s air quality:

  • Objective A1: Develop strategies to reduce cross-border air pollution
  • Objective A2: Increase use of environmentally-friendly products in City facilities to improve indoor air quality
  • Objective A3: Reduce the City’s contribution to poor air quality days
  • Objective A4: Reduce and monitor community greenhouse gas emissions
  • Objective A5: Implement and educate residents on the City of Windsor’s Anti-idling By-law
  • Objective A6: Improve the city’s traffic flow to reduce vehicular emissions
  • Objective A7: Improve the city’s public transportation system to increase ridership
  • Objective A8: Reduce the number of single-occupancy vehicle trips of staff and residents
  • Objective A9: Develop, expand and maintain a connected network of safe bicycling and walking facilities

What influences our air quality?

Sun shining through clouds

Local industrial pollution, electricity generation, home heating, cross-border emissions and emissions from transportation corridors are some of the sources of air pollution in the city. An inventory of air pollutants compiled in 2006 by Environment and Climate Change Canada indicates, the "off-road use of gasoline" is a major source of carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds. For more on this topic, check out this poster on Clean Air Lawn Care. Transportation-related air quality issues remain paramount in the City of Windsor. In 2019, Windsorites travelled 2,389,986,981 vehicle kilometres.

What is the City of Windsor doing to improve air quality?

  • Anti-Idling By-Law #233-2001 to Prohibit Excessive Idling of Vehicles and Boats (see By-Laws Online) was passed on June 18, 2001 and amended on February 6, 2017 (By-law 19-2017). According to this by-law, any person who causes or permits a vehicle or boat to idle more than three continuous minutes is guilty of an offence.
  • The Southwestern Ontario Clean Air Council was developed (the initiating municipalities of London, Woodstock and Windsor) as a collaboration of municipalities and health units focusing on issues surrounding air quality in Southwestern Ontario. The members will share resources, collaborate on regional initiatives and lobby other levels of government on air quality issues. A similar group called the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) Clean Air Council was formed 10 years ago with similar objectives. Both Clean Air Councils are administered by the Clean Air Partnership.
  • Transit Windsor currently operates 29 hybrid buses, which decreases fuel consumption and therefore reduces air pollution caused by buses. They have also implemented the Smart Driver for Transit program. The intent of the program is to reduce fuel consumption and exhaust emissions by educating drivers on how the engine uses fuel, how exhaust emissions affect the environment, how fuel use affects engine maintenance and how much fuel might be saved through fuel-efficient driving.
  • In 2012, City Council approved the Greening of the City Fleet Plan. This plan aims to reduce the effects of vehicle fuel consumption on air quality by implementing a number of measures: minimizing the size of our fleet, ensuring vehicles are the appropriate size for the job, introducing hybrid vehicles and conducting fuel-efficient driver training and preventative maintenance programs. In addition, automatic shut-offs are a standard feature on heavy equipment, and an anti-idling device pilot program was recently implemented on gasoline pickup trucks. Windsor Police Services and our corporate fleet operate one hybrid, one plug-in hybrid and seven fully electric vehicles.
  • Windsor's Smog Action Plan (excerpt from the Air Quality Action Plan, 2000)

What can you do to help improve Windsor's air quality?

At home:

  • Reduce your electricity needs. To learn more on how to do this, see Goal D: Use Resources Efficiently.
  • Avoid the use of oil-based paints, paint thinners or other solvents: use water-based latex paints and primers when redecorating your home.

On the road:

  • Take Transit Windsor, walk, and/or ride your bike to your destination.
  • Don't be a lead foot. Hard acceleration and speeding wastes fuel. For highway driving, every 10 kilometres per hour above the speed limit increases the amount of gas burned by 10 percent.
  • Maintain your car regularly by following your manufacturer's recommended maintenance schedule. Poorly tuned engines and loose gas tank caps significantly increase pollution from cars.
  • Retire that old beater: newer cars have significantly lower (up to 75 percent lower) tailpipe emissions than older cars. Check out Car Heaven for incentives.
  • Avoid idling. It wastes gas, creates pollution and causes wear and tear on your engine. Take special precautions on school grounds to protect children from unnecessary air pollution from cars that idle in pickup lines. See the City of Windsor’s Anti-Idling By-law at By-laws Online for more information.
  • Avoid the drive-through window. In addition to excessive idling, during peak times with long line-ups, it is often faster to park your car and order your beverage or food over the counter.
  • Avoid filling your gas tank during hot summer days and smog advisories. If you must, fill up your tank in the evening or at night.

In the garden:

  • Do not use gasoline-powered lawnmowers or garden tools during hot summer days and smog advisories.
  • Replace old gasoline-powered lawnmowers or garden tools, preferably with manual or rechargeable electric power tools: an old lawn mower can emit as much air pollution as 40 new cars running at the same time.
  • Avoid applying any pesticides during smog advisories.

For more information on Environmental Initiatives

Phone: For general information, call 311. For detailed inquiries, call 519-255-6100 ext. 6127.
Email: emp@citywindsor.ca