Why this researcher needs your help to study air quality

What is the Canadian government doing to stop air pollution?

Why this researcher needs your help to study air quality

Postby Wilberforce » Fri Sep 23, 2016 7:38 pm

Why this researcher needs your help to study air quality in Kamloops
By Brendan Kergin

September 23, 2016 - 6:30 PM

KAMLOOPS - A Thompson Rivers University professor is looking to the public to help monitor the city’s air quality.

Dr. Michael Mehta, a professor of environmental sciences, wants to place dozens of small air quality monitors around the city as part of his research. While people often think air quality around the city is relatively similar, he says it can vary wildly due to winds, geography and localized pollution.

Kamloops only has two air quality monitoring sites he says: one in Aberdeen and one near Riverside Park. Those two sites give no information about what’s happening in neighbourhoods like Brocklehurst, Westsyde or Valleyview, where Domtar, burning debris or vehicle pollution are likely to have a big effect.

While air quality has been a big issue locally due questions about the proposed Ajax Mine, Mehta says air quality is a much more localized issue.

“It would be significant for the people nearby, but it’s one element in the air shed,” he says. “Air pollution is hyper local.”

This is particularly true in Kamloops, with a unique geography. Winds, the rain shadow and elevation can have a strong effect on air in any given area, and quality across the entirity of the city's large area will vary quite a bit.

Non-industrial pollutants can have a much greater effect on a neighbourhood, especially for ones not near industrial sites. In fact, wood smoke from a wood stove or fire is much more toxic than most people think.

“People think it’s natural, we’ve been doing it a long time,” he says.

Instead, wood fire smoke was a common cause of death for human’s ancestors and continues to be more toxic than most expected types of air pollutants. A wood stove burning an average amount of wood for nine hours is the equivalent of driving a car 18,000 kilometres he says, and burning 10 lbs. of wood over an hour releases 4,300 times more carcinogenic chemicals than 30 cigarettes. If there’s a pit fire in a neighbourhood, Mehta says the neighbourhood could have a spike in air pollution making it worse than Beijing.

“I’ve been looking at this for years,” he says. “We know when people are exposed to wood smoke, stroke rates go up dramatically, asthma is exacerbated.”

Air quality is the number one planetary issue right now he says, and wood burning, be it from forest fires, land clearing or camping, is a big piece of that.

So far Mehta has installed a new monitor at TRU. He’s hoping to find locals interested in hosting air quality as well. Monitors cost $200 and need access to WiFi. All the data is collected in real time and available to the public on a website called Purple Air.

Mehta can be contacted at mmehta@tru.ca for more information on hosting a monitor.

http://infotel.ca/newsitem/why-this-res ... ps/it34891

New rules for wood stoves in BC
Colin Dacre — September 21, 2016

The provincial government is updating its rules on wood and pellet stoves for the first time since 1994.

Moving forward, new units sold in stores will have to meet stricter emissions standards recently adopted by the US Environmental Protection Agency, which will result in an immediate 40% reduction in maximum emissions.

Ministry of Environment Air Quality Meteorologist Earle Plain was a part of the team who developed the new guidelines. He says they’re objective is NOT to limit wood burning stoves.

“The objective is to make sure that when people choose to heat with wood, that they are heating with appliances that are very good in terms of technology and are using the best technology available to make sure that you get a clean hot burn.”

While most of the changes are aimed at new wood stoves, existing owners will now be required to burn clean, cured firewood.

“Before there was no provision in there that said you can’t burn prohibited materials like garbage and stuff like that” noting that they get several complaints every year about neighbours who are burning things besides wood or treated wood.

Plain says wood smoke can make up a significant part of an airsheds pollution in river valleys or bowl areas that are susceptible to inversions, such as the Prince George bowl or Bulkley Valley.

He anticipates the changes will further stoke BC’s wood stove exchange program.

http://www.mybulkleylakesnow.com/11121/ ... stoves-bc/
• The Surgeon General has determined that there is no safe level of exposure to ambient smoke!

• If you smell even a subtle odor of smoke, you are being exposed to poisonous and carcinogenic chemical compounds!

• Even a brief exposure to smoke raises blood pressure, (no matter what your state of health) and can cause blood clotting, stroke, or heart attack in vulnerable people. Even children experience elevated blood pressure when exposed to smoke!

• Since smoke drastically weakens the lungs' immune system, avoiding smoke is one of the best ways to prevent colds, flu, bronchitis, or risk of an even more serious respiratory illness, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis! Does your child have the flu? Chances are they have been exposed to ambient smoke!
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