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|GH students fight for Clean Trains||| Print ||
|Friday, 04 December 2009 10:34|
At the beginning of October the Ontario Minister of the Environment approved a plan by the transit development company Metrolinx’ to increase diesel train traffic through west Toronto.
The plan calls for an increase in train service from 50 trains a day to 450.
The Minister of Education has specified that Metrolinx use Tier 4 diesel technology. While Tier 4 diesel engines have more strict emission standards, they still produce the same levels of carbon monoxide levels as previous tiers. Recognizing that there unacceptable health risks associated with the proposal.
The Toronto district school board, medical officer of health, the Clean Train Coalition and thousands of Toronto citizens have all spoken out in opposition to the plan. However the plan to expand the rail traffic is still underway.
The Clean Train Coalition is an advocacy group, who promote cleaner transit in Toronto. They would prefer electrified train engines to reduce air pollution and noise in the neighbourhoods around rail lines.
Heather Irwin, executive member of the Student Clean Train Coalition thinks the electric trains would be a better alternative for the people in these neighbourhoods.
“These trains are running through a lot of local communities, residential areas where families are living, so it’s going to be really disruptive to them as well so the electric trains will be a lot quieter.”
The coalition is fighting to make Metrolinx electrify the rail, since as they see it, electric technology is available and would entirely eliminate local health risks. The CTC believes electrifying the line would protect exposed communities from the health risks associated with diesel trains.
The student section of the Clean Train Coalition represents future generations who will live in Toronto. They hope to change the perception of Toronto as a polluted metropolis. They see electrified trains as a step towards their goal of a cleaner, healthier city.
“It’s going to be something that’s affecting our future as well so we want the future of Toronto to be something with clean air for our city,” said Irwin.
The Clean Train Student Coalition (CTSC) is holding a rally at Young and Dundas Square on December 4, 2009 to protest of the Ministry’s approval of the Metrolinx plan. They will march to Queen’s Park and to deliver their 20,000 signature petition to the Premier.
Sarah Myers an organizer for the CTSC hopes a march through the busiest parts of Toronto will get everyday people involved in the issue,
“I think it’s important to be out in the public eye, it’s one thing to tell your friends about a cause, but you can reach more people by doing something public like our downtown march.”
The CTSC feels that diesel is one of the most polluting transportation fuel available, and instead of improving the city, this plan will harm the health of over 300,000 residents.
Mike Graham, a member of the CTSC wants people to change their perception of diesel being a “clean” fuel,
“When most people think of diesel, they think it is better for the environment than gasoline, but both fuels are almost just as bad for the air.”
Using diesel could also contribute to global warming, add to the city’s smog problems, and threaten the life of 12 west-end neighbourhoods.