Nova Scotia marks Clean Air Day today, June 2, with enhancements to the Air Quality Health Index. From June to October, Nova Scotia will test a new Air Quality Health Index advisory system. Notifications will be issued to local media and posted to Environment Canada’s Weather Office website if the index indicates an increased health risk. The new advisory system will provide an additional means of notifying Nova Scotians when air pollution levels become elevated. Nova Scotia’s Air Quality Health Index typically resides in the low risk category. “We are taking action to make life better for families across the province”, said Environment Minister Sterling Belliveau. “This system provides valuable information about air quality in our communities, helping to protect the health of Nova Scotians and our environment.” The Air Quality Health Index is especially useful for Nova Scotians at risk from air pollution including seniors, children, those with heart or lung disease, and people who are physically active outdoors. “This system helps Nova Scotians protect their health by encouraging them to be informed and, if needed, to adjust their activity level and time spent outdoors,” said Maureen MacDonald, Minister of Health Promotion and Protection. The index has been available in the province since 2008 with hourly updates posted online. The Air Quality Health Index is provided for Halifax, Sydney, Greenwood and Kentville and will extend to Pictou and Port Hawkesbury this month. “With the addition of Pictou and Port Hawkesbury, the index is now available in 49 communities across the country,” said federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq. “The AQHI is an excellent example of local, provincial and federal governments working together to protect the health of Canadians.” Nova Scotia is the first province to test this public advisory system. The system is a partnership of the Department of Environment, Nova Scotia Health Promotion and Protection, Environment Canada and Health Canada. People who want to receive Air Quality Health Index updates directly can sign up for Environment Canada’s e-Smog Plus service at www.atl.ec.gc.ca/airquality/esmog.cgi . For more information on the Air Quality Health Index and advisory program visit Nova Scotia Department of Environment’s website at www.gov.ns.ca/nse/aqhi .