Fraser Valley/Vancouver – You would think such a bulletin would only be issued in the stagnant hot air of summer.
Surprise, it CAN happen this time of year!
The downsize from this week’s sunshine is that current air quality is fair, but a stagnant weather pattern over the region will bring temperature inversions and light winds, especially in the evening and overnight, causing fine particulate matter emitted by sources in our region to build up.
Therefore, both the FVRD (Fraser Valley Regional District) as well as its counterpart, Metro Vancouver, issued a joint Air Quality Bulletin.
This applies for Metro Vancouver and the central Fraser Valley due to intermittent high concentrations of fine particulate matter that may occur over the weekend.
Air Quality Bulletins are issued when air pollutant levels are expected to be elevated, but do not yet exceed levels that warrant the issuance of an Air Quality Advisory. Bulletins are used to encourage emission reductions and ensure that those sensitive to degraded air quality are informed. This bulletin is expected to continue until there is a change in the current weather.
Information about real-time air quality readings for Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley communities and potential health impacts can be found at www.airmap.ca and http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/epd/bcairquality/readings/find-stations-map.html
Weather conditions in the fall or winter can lead to poor dispersion of air pollutants, causing emissions from local sources such as vehicles, wood stoves, fireplaces and outdoor burning to significantly impact fine particulate matter levels in neighborhoods. Users should minimize wood burning activities and the use of fireworks until weather conditions improve.
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 its small size.
Persons with chronic underlying medical conditions should consider postponing strenuous exercise until the bulletin is lifted. Exposure is particularly a concern for pregnant women and 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.