Montreal opposition concerned with metro air quality

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The opposition is demanding the Société de transport de Montréal (STM) conduct routine air quality tests in its metro system.

Ensemble Montréal councillors believe more should be done to protect the health of metro users.

In 2018, 270 million fares were sold, and the issue is a pressing matter, they said.

“If we don’t know what kind of air people breathe in the metro, we can never find a solution,” said St-Leonard Coun. Dominic Perri.

The opposition believes tests conducted in subway systems in other cities hint Montreal should be more cautious of pollutants in the air.

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“This is why we want to measure precisely fine particulate matter, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, the temperature and humidity,” Coun. Karine Boivin-Roy said.

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They are asking for five air control systems to be installed in the STM’s major metro stations: Guy-Concordia, Bonaventure, McGill, Berri-UQAM and Longueuil-Université-de-Sherbrooke.

In a statement to Global News, the STM said air quality tests are conducted periodically to ensure the best environment for its clientele and employees.

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In addition, an air quality testing program was launched last January, targeting Berri-UQAM, Jean-Talon and Longueuil-Université-de-Sherbrooke metro stations.

The results, they said, came out positive.

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For Montreal metro user Harman Gidda, money should not be spent uselessly.

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“I mean, if they’ve done the scientific tests that there’s actually bad air quality down there, then yes, it makes sense to actually spend money,” he said. “But if the air quality is fine, there’s no point.”

According to the STM, unlike many subway systems around the world, their trains roll on rubber instead of iron — which limits the circulation of fine particles in the air.

The City of Montreal told Global News they would not comment on the issue until the next municipal council on Sept. 16.