A touch of green in Toronto’s hazy environment

The City of Toronto recently received a grade of C-minus from a prominent environmental group on its efforts to reduce the smog blanketing the city. The results were not all bleak, however.

In the Toronto Environmental Alliance’s report card, it praised the city for making the effort to introduce cleaner city vehicles with its Green Fleet Transition Plan. The Vice-chair of Toronto’s Roundtable on the Environment, Paula Fletcher is pleased with the efforts of the program.

“Toronto has a very aggressive Green Fleet Transition program,” said Fletcher, councillor for Ward 30, Toronto-Danforth. “I am associated with the expansion of green fleet, purchase of biodiesel, greening the fleets of all the city’s arms-length corporations, as well stopping idling by city vehicles.”

After its launch in 2004, the Green Fleet Transition Plan required the city to replace 84% of its light-duty vehicles. They would be replaced with others that utilize natural gas or by hybrid electric vehicles such as the Honda Civic and GMC Sierra. The city also must trim consumption of some 20 million litres of blended-biodiesel fuel, which should reduce emissions 23% by 2007.

The plan was given a score of nine out of 10 by the TEA. It was the highest score out of six categories they examined, with the lowest being Toronto’s air-quality plan coming in at 2/10.

In a press release by the TEA, Executive Director Dr. Bob Fugere said, “2006 was one of the best on record, but largely due to regular rains and citizens’ conservation efforts. The City government has merely kept plugging along, with excellence in a few areas but less than acceptable in many.”

“I think this is an area that the city fleet can set an example in all ways,” Fletcher said while praising the Green Fleet program’s success. She also took part in the inaugural Green Fleet Expo, which was held at Exhibition Place in May 2006 and said she was proud to open the event.

The Expo allowed different municipalities and companies to come and try out all of the city’s various Green Fleet Vehicles. It also provided information on further ways to improve their various fleets’ technologies.