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Spotlight on Meetings and Conventions

Québec City: Acing the fight against air pollution

From June 25 to 28, 2019, Québec City will welcome nearly 1,500 experts and researchers on air pollution during U.S. Air and Waste Management Association’s (A&WMA) Annual Conference and Exhibition, ACE 2019.

Founded in 1907, the A&WMA is a non-profit, non-partisan professional organization dedicated to global environmental responsibility and critical environmental decision-making. It has more than 5,000 members spread in 65 countries.

ACE 2019 which will be held at the Québec City Convention Centre, is being organized in collaboration with the A&WMA’s Québec chapter, the Association pour la prévention de la contamination de l’air et du sol (APCAS). It is the most important forum on research and development in the environmental, air and waste-management industries. It brings together scientists, regulators, suppliers and educators to advance the science of protecting the Environment.

An Event with Widespread Health Impact

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Nicolas Turgeon, Deputy Director for the CRIQ’s Industrial Efficiency and Environment Department, an expert in the control of air emissions and climate change, and event ambassador for Québec City’s Ambassadors’ Club, spearheaded the project to attract the event to Québec City. We sat down with him to learn more about why the A&WMA’s initiatives, including ACE 2019, are so important for the world’s future.

“The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that air pollution kills 7 million people each year,” explained Mr. Turgeon. “Data shows that 4.2 million deaths occur every year as a result of outdoor air pollution and 3.8 million deaths are caused by indoor exposure.” About a third of deaths from stroke, lung cancer and heart disease are attributed to air pollution.

According to WHO data, 91% of the world’s population lives in places where air quality exceeds WHO guideline limits. That means 9 out of 10 people breathe air containing high levels of air pollutants. The International Institute for Sustainable Development’s recent report, The Costs of Pollution in Canada, shows that air pollution cost Canadian families $36 billion in 2015 alone.

“These levels are extremely alarming on a global scale. That is why organizations like the A&WMA are critical to combat climate change and its global threat on the environment and humanity,” Mr. Turgeon said. “And our annual conference in 2019 promises to feature ground-breaking plenaries, technical sessions and workshops that are all focused creating the winds of change the Earth needs to save the environment and improve the health of citizens everywhere.”

One of ACE 2019’s major topics is the environmental and health impacts of oil sands. “We have several critical reviews on oil sands, which is, of course, the subject of heated debate in both Canada and the United States,” acknowledged Mr. Turgeon.

“Québec City’s bid was met with a lot of enthusiasm from all members. Everyone was enchanted by the city’s charm, history and the fact that the event would take place between Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day, Québec’s provincial holiday, and Canada Day so that event attendees can take part in the festivities.”

 

A Québec City First for the A&WMA

While the A&WMA’s conference has been held on a yearly basis for 111 years, this 112th edition marks a huge change for the event: it is the first time ACE will be held in Québec City.

“We submitted the bid during the ACE 2017 event in Pittsburgh and, in front of 700 people, presented an amazing video about how Québec City comes alive in the summertime,” he recalled. “Québec City’s bid was met with a lot of enthusiasm from all members. Everyone was enchanted by the city’s charm, history and the fact that the event would take place between Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day, Québec’s provincial holiday, and Canada Day so that event attendees can take part in the festivities.”

Mr. Turgeon and Jean-Luc Allard, APCAS’s Vice-President, organized, along with the Québec City Convention Centre, a site inspection as well as a tour of the venues and city for executive members of the A&WMA to experience city’s appeal first hand and ensure that the city had all the necessary facilities for such a large-scale conference. The end result? Québec City clinched it!

Québec City is a leader in sustainable development and environmental protection thanks to an ecosystem of internationally renowned researchers, businesses and all levels of government that come together to fight climate change. ACE 2019 is a testament to the city’s commitment to this key industry.

“ACE 2019 will be an exclusive opportunity for US and Canadian delegates to learn more about French culture—all while giving European and Asian attendees a taste of a very unique North American destination,” Mr. Turgeon said. “We really believe that ACE 2019 in Québec City will be a great breath of fresh air!”

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