Warnings of high smog levels greeted an unprecedented number of politicians from all levels of government as they gathered in Toronto to sign a clean air declaration. Representatives from the regional governments in the Greater Toronto Area, the City of Toronto, the Province of Ontario and the Government of Canada are in Toronto today to sign the Toronto 2002 Inter-Governmental Declaration on Clean Air, report on progress, and make new commitments to combating smog. The partnership has expanded to include signatories from all four regional governments plus 13 towns and cities. A Citizens’ Declaration on Clean Air and a call-to-action was also presented to government officials by a citizens’ panel representing the community, youth, business, education and health fields. Residents who participated in one of six smog citizens’ forums held across the City and the GTA were for the first time, part of the decision-making process, and came up with solutions that government, industry and the community could take to curb smog. “This is good news because the fight to reduce Toronto’s air pollution requires the cooperation of all levels of government, industry and the community,” said Councillor Brad Duguid (Ward 38 Scarborough Centre) and new chair of the City of Toronto’s Works Committee, on behalf of the Mayor and City Council. “The overwhelming support at this year’s Smog Summit is proof that more people are concerned about the environment and want quick action on improving air quality.” Helene Margolis, a researcher and epidemiologist at the University of California, shared the results of a ground-breaking, ten-year children’s health study that showed, for the first time, a causal relationship between smog and asthma in healthy children. Children who breathed heavily-polluted air were up to three times more likely to develop asthma than children who breathed cleaner air. Especially vulnerable were children who exercised or were active outdoors, as they tended to breathe more rapidly and inhale more pollutants. “As a Smog Summit partner, the Government of Canada remains committed to reducing the health effects of air pollution by implementing measures to achieve cleaner air for Canadians today and for the future”, said Karen Redman, Member of Parliament for Kitchener Centre and Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment on behalf of Environment Minister David Anderson. “Every level of government, every organization and every individual has a role to play in improving air quality.” “Making progress in transportation is absolutely key to addressing smog in our major cities,” said the Honourable David Collenette, Federal Minister of Transport, from his office. “The steps we are taking are also helping to deal with congestion in our urban areas and climate change.” “This summit is proof that we are all committed to clean air,” said Environment and Energy Minister Chris Stockwell. “Ontario is already known by medical and environmental groups for having Canada’s best air quality monitoring system, but we are dedicated to making it better.” “With greater emphasis on broad community involvement and more GTA jurisdictions on board, the Greater Toronto Area Clean Air Council (GTA-CAC) will continue to explore opportunities for joint initiatives across Canada and share best practices on smog reduction,” said event organizer, Eva Ligeti, Executive Director of the Clean Air Partnership. Smog Summit 2002 was sponsored by the City of Toronto, the Province of Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment, the Government of Canada, Enbridge Consumers Gas, Toronto Hydro, the Toronto Atmospheric Fund, the Clean Air Partnership, and the GTA Clean Air Council.