The Wellington Advertiser
I wish to respond to the letter to the editor by A. Joseph.
In this letter the assertion is made that: “We could have retrofitted the coal plants with new scrubbers which would have eliminated practically all emissions…” Unfortunately this is incorrect. There are a number of pollutants that are discharged into the atmosphere when coal is used as a fuel in electrical generating stations. These include, sulphur dioxide (SO2), particulate matter (PM2.5), nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO) and carbon dioxide (CO2). Scrubbers only control sulphur dioxide (SO2) and particulate emissions (PM2.5) and certainly cannot eliminate ‘practically all’ of these pollutants.
SO2, NOx, PM2.5 and other pollutants combination in the atmosphere to form a toxic soup generally referred to as smog. Smog episodes are common in Ontario in the summer and studies have shown that during these smog episodes people end up in hospital suffering from respiratory distress – young children and the elderly are particularly susceptible. Moreover, CO2 is a major contributor to climate change which is starting to take its toll on the planet.
The sooner Canada, and indeed all countries, move to eliminate coal and other fossil fuels in energy production, the healthier we will all be.