UPDATE: Metro Vancouver has ended the Air Quality Advisory that was in effect for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley Regional District since Tuesday, July 18, 2017. The advisory was due to elevated concentrations of fine particulate matter from wildfires in the Interior of B.C. Air quality throughout the region has now improved as a result of stronger winds in advance of an incoming low pressure system. Please visit www.metrovancouver.org for more information.
Metro Vancouver is now issuing an Air Quality Advisory for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley Regional District because of high concentrations of fine particulate matter due to wildfires outside of the region. These conditions are expected to persist for at least 24 hours.
Fine particulate matter, also known as PM2.5, refers to airborne solid or liquid droplets with a diameter of 2.5 micrometres (μm) or less. PM2.5 can easily penetrate indoors because of their small size. The PM2.5 currently impacting our air shed is primarily smoke that has been transported into our region from wildfires burning in the interior of BC.
This advisory is expected to continue until there is a change in either the fire activity in the BC Interior, or the weather patterns that are currently transporting the smoke into the region.
Persons with chronic underlying medical conditions should postpone strenuous exercise until the advisory is lifted. Exposure is particularly a concern for infants, the elderly and those who have diabetes, and lung or heart disease. 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.
Metro Vancouver works in cooperation with Environment and Climate Change 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 www.airmap.ca and www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/air-land-water/air.
What is fine particulate matter?
Fine particulate matter, also known as PM2.5, refers to airborne solid or liquid droplets with a diameter of 2.5 micrometres (μm)
or less. PM2.5 concentrations tend to be highest around busy roads, industrial operations, major ports as well as areas with
residential wood burning. PM2.5 can easily penetrate indoors because of their small size.
Tips to reduce your personal health risk:
- Avoid roads with heavy vehicle traffic and areas with wood smoke.
- Stay cool and drink plenty of water.
- 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 and reduce indoor pollution sources such as smoking and vacuuming.
- Reduce indoor sources of pollution such as smoking and vacuuming, and run an air cleaner. Some room air cleaners, such as HEPA filters, can help reduce indoor particulate levels provided they are the right size for your home and filters are changed regularly.
- Consider taking shelter in air-conditioned buildings which have large indoor volumes and limited entry of outdoor air.
Voluntary emission reduction actions
Reducing sources of fine particulates throughout Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley will be beneficial to air quality. Actions
people can take:
- Minimize the use of diesel powered equipment.
- Consider taking transit or carpooling rather than driving to your destination.
- Follow local regulations for recreational fires. Avoid lighting a fire where possible.
- Additional Information
- Fine particulates are emitted from transportation sources, non-road engines, heating and burning.
- Fine particulate levels are compared to medium-term (24-hour) objectives.
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. Ministry of Environment, Environment and Climate Change 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 www.metrovancouver.org.