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AIR QUALITY ADVISORY

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July 7, 2017 at 5:02 am - Home, MyChilliwackNews
By MyChilliwackNews Editor

July 6, 2017  Metro Vancouver is now issuing an Air Quality Advisory for eastern parts of Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley because of high concentrations of ground-level ozone that are expected to persist until tomorrow and potentially longer as hot sunny weather continues.

Ground-level ozone is not emitted directly into the air. It is formed when nitrogen oxides (pollutants emitted when fuels are burned) and volatile organic compounds (emitted from solvents) react in the air in the presence of sunlight. The highest levels of ground-level ozone are generally observed between mid-afternoon and early evening on summer days.

Avoid strenuous outdoor activities during mid-afternoon, when ozone levels are highest. Exposure is particularly a concern for infants, the elderly and those who have underlying medical conditions such as lung or heart disease and asthma. If you are experiencing symptoms such as chest discomfort, shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing, follow the advice of your healthcare provider. As we are in the summer season with warm temperatures, it is also important to stay cool and hydrated.  Indoor spaces with air conditioning may offer relief from both heat and air pollution.

Smoke from a wildfire burning north of Harrison Hot Springs is also occasionally reaching parts of the Lower Fraser Valley, causing fine particulate matter concentrations to be slightly higher than normal but remaining below advisory levels. This has affected visual air quality conditions with a noticeable haze, and may be contributing to ozone levels as well.

This advisory is expected to continue until temperatures cool.

Metro Vancouver works in cooperation with Environment Canada, the Fraser Valley Regional District and B.C. Ministry of Environment to look after air quality.

Information about real-time air quality readings for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley communities and potential health impacts can be found at http://www.airmap.ca and http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/air-land-water/air.

For more information, contact:

Don Bradley, Division Manager, Media Relations

604-451-6107 (office), 604-788-2821 (cell)

BACKGROUNDER

What is ground-level ozone?

Ground-level ozone is not emitted directly into the air. It is formed when nitrogen oxides (pollutants emitted when fuels are burned) and volatile organic compounds (emitted from solvents) react in the air in the presence of sunlight.

The highest levels of ground-level ozone are generally observed between mid-afternoon and early evening on summer days.

Tips to reduce your personal health risk:

  • Stay cool and drink plenty of water.
  • Use symptom management medications such as inhalers if needed.
  • Continue to manage medical conditions such as asthma, chronic respiratory disease and heart failure. If symptoms continue to be bothersome, seek medical attention.
  • Maintaining good overall health is a good way to prevent health effects resulting from short-term exposure to air pollution.

And especially for persons with chronic underlying medical conditions:

  • Stay in cool, air-conditioned environments, especially during the afternoon when ground-level ozone levels are at their highest, and reduce indoor pollution sources such as smoking and vacuuming.

Voluntary emission reduction actions

Reducing air emissions throughout Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley will be beneficial to air quality. Actions people can take:

  • Minimize the use of vehicles.
  • Consider taking transit or carpooling rather than driving to your destination.
  • Minimize the use of other gasoline and diesel engines, such as lawn mowers and trimmers.
  • Avoid refuelling with gasoline during the hottest time of day.
  • Avoid idling your vehicle.

Additional Information

  • Nitrogen oxides (NOx) are emitted from transportation sources, boilers, building heating systems and other combustion processes.
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOC) commonly arise from burning fossil fuels, solvent evaporation (including paint, varnishes and thinners), fuel refining and storage, fuel refilling, and agricultural activities as well as natural sources such as vegetation.
  • A brief video explaining how ground-level ozone is formed can be found at https://player.vimeo.com/video/218925373.
  • Ozone levels are compared to short-term (1-hour) and medium-term (8-hour) objectives. The short-term objective measures the peak/highest concentration and the medium-term objective represents the average over the period of the day when levels are generally elevated.

Under provincial legislation, Metro Vancouver is responsible for monitoring air quality, controlling industrial, commercial and some residential emissions, creating long-term plans, and conducting emission inventories for the Metro Vancouver region.

To help reduce air emissions throughout the Lower Mainland, Metro Vancouver works cooperatively with the Fraser Valley Regional District, the B.C. Environment Ministry, Environment Canada and other agencies to develop and implement emission reduction programs for businesses and local residents. Further information about air quality programs in the region can be found on Metro Vancouver’s website at http://www.metrovancouver.org.

 

 

 

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