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Acid Precipitation in Québec

In the 1980s, a lot was said in the media about acid precipitation. The strong interest in the phenomenon stemmed from the fact that our lakes, rivers and forests were located on highly sensitive soils and received highly acidic depositions. This interest was all the more significant that acid precipitation had an immediate impact on sport fishing as it resulted in the disappearance of certain vulnerable fish species from our lakes, which proved acidic. 

Also, in our forests acidification contributed to sugar maple dieback. But the 1980s was also the decade where countermeasures were implemented. Lake monitoring and precipitation measurement networks were set up to better define the problem and its impact on the environment. National and international agreements aimed at reducing pollutant emissions worldwide were discussed, while legislative tools to help Québec meet the reduction goals set forth in the agreements were adopted.

Since the end of the 1980s, Québec has managed to lower its SO2 emissions by more than 60% with respect to 1980 levels. While Ontario has reached a similar goal, the United States will have reduced its SO2 emissions by 40% (1980 reference year) by 2010. It would appear, however, that these achievements will not be sufficient to recover the resources affected by acidification. Québec is therefore committed to seek an agreement with the other Eastern Canadian provinces for an additional 50% reduction in SO2 emissions. The government of Québec has signed a similar agreement with the Eastern Canadian Provinces and New England States addressing the problems of acid precipitation and mercury specifically.

Other Documents

Acid Lakes in Québec - 2004 (French)

Surface Water Acidity in Québec (1999)

Effects of Emission Reductions on Lake Water Quality in Western Québec (1999)

Acid Precipitation in Québec: A Status Report (1996)

Precipitation's Quality (French)


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