Researcher maps wood smoke pollution in Valemount

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Researcher maps wood smoke pollution in Valemount

Postby Wilberforce » Fri Apr 06, 2018 1:11 pm

Researcher maps wood smoke pollution in Valemount

March 30, 2018 The Goat Environment, News and Views
by Andru McCracken

There is a new map of Valemount and while it won’t tell you how to get from one place to another, it may help you decide where you’d like to live. The map is of the dispersion of wood smoke throughout Valemount during a cold week in February. Taken over six days, the map helps show how smoke is typically distributed through Valemount during an inversion.

Student Matt Wagstaff developed the mobile smoke collection project as a part of his masters thesis in Occupational and Environmental Hygiene at UBC’s School of Population and Public Health.

Wagstaff and a team of volunteers drove particulate sensing equipment around Valemount everyday for a six days in a row in early February. Conditions were typical of cold smoky nights with lows of roughly 20 degrees below zero and very little wind.

In both maps the data gives a sense of how woodsmoke is distributed around Valemount. Darker areas show a higher concentration of smoke. Less populated areas like the western extent of Main Street show very little smoke compared to Beavan Crescent for example. Math whizzes should look at the map in detail as the colours indicate standard deviations.

The two maps show slightly different results because different techniques and instruments were used. One specifically looks for a marker unique to wood smoke, while the other simply looks for small noxious particulate known as PM 2.5, which could be generated from other sources besides wood smoke.

As reported previously, Valemount has the worst air quality of any community in the province. Some community members wondered if the air quality was just particularly bad near the monitor (which sits atop the Valemount Firehall). The maps indicate smoke is a widespread issue throughout the community.

source ... valemount/
• 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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