Air zones are local management areas in a province or territory that develop monitoring programs and infrastructure to provide stakeholders with information they need to understand and address local air quality issues. Different regions have different air quality issues, depending on the local environment, climate patterns, industries and their proximity to populated areas.
Saskatchewan has six air zones, three of which have active air zone associations:
- Southeast Saskatchewan Airshed Association (SESAA) covers the southeast area of the province including the cities of Melville, Weyburn and Estevan. Key economic activities include agriculture, oil and gas, power generation, mining and transportation.
- Western Yellowhead Air Management Zone (WYAMZ) monitors the Saskatoon, Kindersley, Meadow Lake and Lloydminster region. Key economic activities include agriculture, oil and gas, pulp and paper, mining and transportation.
- Great Plains Air Zone (GPAZ) covers the area surrounding and including the cities of Regina, Moose Jaw and Yorkton. Key economic activities include agriculture, manufacturing, steel and fertilizer production, oil and gas refining, mining and transportation.
- Grasslands Air Zone (GAZ) monitors the southwest portion of the province including Swift Current, Coronach and Cypress Hills. Key economic activities include agriculture, oil and gas, power generation, mining and transportation.
- Boreal Air Zone (BAZ) covers the northern half of the province including Buffalo Narrows and is the largest air zone. Key economic activities include hard rock mining, forestry and tourism.
- North East Air Zone (NAZ) covers the Prince Albert and Hudson Bay region. Key economic activities include forestry, transportation, agricultural, mining and tourism.
About Air Zones
Air zone management helps jurisdictions improve air quality, prevent air quality deterioration, and ensure national air quality standards are met.
The air zone management approach is a successful program built on consensus‐based decision‐making and partnerships. An air zone association is a non‐profit society that is formed with representation from industry, government, non-government agencies and the public.
An air zone is defined as a geographic region within the province of Saskatchewan that has similar air quality characteristics and challenges.
Air zone boundaries take into account features such as topography, meteorology, economic activities, pollution sources and common air quality issues.
- Develop a voluntary, locally‐driven strategy for the protection of public health and the local environment;
- Engage industry, government, and the public in the development of visions and goals for managing regional air quality; and
- Monitor ambient air quality and interpret the collected data to understand the contributing factors and evaluate trends.
Air Zone Association Benefits
- Provides data to help manage regional air quality
- Spreads program operating costs among emitting stakeholders;
- Creates high public trust and direct public involvement;
- Provides access to real‐time air monitoring data via the internet;
- Offers an effective forum for open discussion;
- Provides opportunity to build relationships among stakeholders; and
- Is an excellent public relations and education tool.