An air quality advisory has been issued for Prince George.
The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy in collaboration with Northern Health issued the advisroy due to high concentrations of fine particulate matter.
Elevated fine particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations are resulting from still air and poor dispersion. Air quality will improve if emissions are reduced.
The provincial ambient air quality objective for PM2.5 is 25 micrograms per cubic metre (µg m-3 ), averaged over 24 hours. As of January 3, 2018 at 8 a.m., 24-hour average PM2.5 concentrations for Prince George was 26.5, Quesnel 17, and Vanderhoof 33.9, where an air quality advisory issued last week remains in effect.
This advisory remains in effect until further notice. Exposure to fine particulate matter is of particular concern for infants, the elderly and those who have diabetes, and lung or heart disease. Persons with chronic underlying medical conditions should postpone strenuous exercise until the advisory is lifted.
If you are experiencing symptoms such as continuing eye or throat irritation, chest discomfort, shortness of breath, cough or wheezing, follow the advice of your health care provider. Staying indoors helps to reduce exposure to fine particulate matter.
During air quality advisories, the City of Prince George’s Clean Air Bylaw prohibits street sweeping activities and all open burning, including backyard burning, land clearing burning and recreational fires. The use of wood-burning appliances is also prohibited, except for sole wood burning heat users. Industry is asked to reduce emissions wherever possible during the air quality advisory.
Real-time air quality observations and information regarding the health effects of air pollution can be found at www.bcairquality.ca.
Tips to reduce your personal health risk:
- People with heart or lung conditions may be more sensitive to the effects of poor air quality and should watch for any change in symptoms that may be due to poor air quality exposure. If any symptoms are noted, affected individuals should take steps to reduce their exposure to poor air quality. Depending on the severity of symptoms, people should go to their health care provider, walk-in clinic or emergency department.
- Residents with asthma or other chronic illness should activate their asthma or personal care plan.
- Maintaining good overall health is a good way to prevent health effects resulting from short-term exposure to air pollution.
- Use common sense regarding outdoor physical activity; if your breathing becomes difficult or uncomfortable, stop or reduce the activity.
- Avoid roads with heavy vehicle traffic and areas with wood smoke.
- Stay indoors, keep windows and doors closed and reduce indoor sources of pollution such as smoking, vacuuming and use of woodstoves.
- Run an air cleaner. Some room air cleaners, such as HEPA filters, can help reduce indoor concentrations of fine particulate matter provided the filters are the right size for your home and are kept clean.
- Buildings which have large indoor volumes of filtered outside air may provide temporary relief for those with respiratory and cardiac issues.