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Support the ban on wood smoke

PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 6:12 pm
by Wilberforce
Support the ban on wood smoke

By Cathy Baiton, The Windsor Star October 25, 2011

Re: Cheers to the Brandies, by John McCrossan, Sept. 30.

I share John McCrossan's support for the Brandies' welldeserved victory, following their long battle over unacceptable neighbourhood wood smoke pollution. Breathing clean, wood-smoke-free air in and around one's own home should be a basic right.

Although the wood-burning industry continues to market its products to people who live in cities and towns, even new wood-burning appliances are simply not a good choice in residential areas.

Most Canadian communities now have zero tolerance for cigarette smoke in public buildings but why do so many maintain a double standard regarding equally harmful wood smoke in neighbourhoods?

As a clean air advocate, I have received recent emails asking if I know of any communities that have restricted or banned wood burning.

I think this reflects the increased value now being placed on clean air, which is essential for supporting both health and quality of life in neighbourhoods.

Some places have already created bylaws to protect citizens. Hampstead, Que., for example, forbids installation of new wood-burning appliances, and requires that existing ones be removed by November 2015.

Hopefully, the Brandies' successful case will encourage Amherstburg officials to create the strongest wood smoke bylaw/ban possible - to benefit its residents, and to help set a positive example that may encourage other communities to uphold the importance of clean, healthy air for all.

CATHY BAITON, Lethbridge, Alta.

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Re: Support the ban on wood smoke

PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 1:34 am
by Theodosia15
First, they banned smoking in public places. Then they went after weed killing, tree cutting, perfume wearing and idling cars. And, oh yes, fur.
So what's next for environmental activists? What can possibly be left?
I think I may have the answer: Banning woodstoves and fireplaces.
Coming soon to a neighbourhood near you -- a bylaw prohibiting "nuisance" wood fires.
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire may be about to become ancient history.

You'd think in a country like Canada, full of trees and empty of people, wood fires would be wonderfully popular even with the greenies. After all, wood is cheap, plentiful and best of all, renewable, unlike the alternatives -- gas, electricity, propane and oil.

But you'd be wrong. Here and there all over North America, opposition to your desire to light a nice, warm, crackling fire on a cold night is building.

Anti-wood action can range all the way from volunteer cutbacks during bad air days to total bans all the time. In the U.S., the city of Denver, Colorado, already has a bylaw. So has the British Columbia municipality of Central Okanagan. In Spokane County, Colorado, they even employ "field agents" -- spies -- to drive around looking for telltale smoke plumes where an illegal fireplace or woodstove is burning. The penalty: $150 for violations, more if necessary. In Albuquerque, New Mexico, they do the same.

Many bylaws apply only to bad air days but, according to Environment Canada, Golden, B.C. has a total ban on woodburning appliances.

The opposition to wood heat has been building quietly for years. As Environment Canada explains, wood smoke contains fine particulates identified as a health hazard. There's even a grandly-named Intergovernmental Working Group on Residential Wood Combustion that's been on the job since 2000. Who knew?