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Dust advisory issued for Prince George

The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy in collaboration with the Northern Health Authority has issued a dust advisory for Prince George because of high concentrations of coarse particulate matter that are expected to persist until there is precipitation, dust suppression or a change in traffic patterns.

Levels tend to be highest around busy roads and industrial operations. This advisory is in effect until further notice. Exposure is particularly a concern for individuals with chronic conditions such as asthma, COPD, heart disease, and diabetes; respiratory infections such as COVID-19, pregnant women, infants, and older adults. Persons with chronic underlying medical conditions or acute infections should postpone or reduce strenuous exercise until the advisory is lifted.

Where appropriate, maintain physical distancing. Anyone experiencing symptoms such as continuing eye or throat irritation, chest discomfort, shortness of breath, cough or wheezing, should follow the advice of their health care provider. Staying indoors helps to reduce exposure.

The City of Prince George’s Clean Air Bylaw prohibits all open burning, including backyard burning, and land clearing burning. During air quality advisories, this bylaw also prohibits recreational fires, use of wood-burning appliances (except for sole wood burning heat users), and street sweeping activities (unless approved by an Authorized Person). Industry is required to follow permit requirements that are triggered during air quality advisories and are asked to reduce emissions wherever possible. Real-time air quality observations and information regarding the health effects of air pollution can be found at https://www.gov.bc.ca/airquality.

We can all help improve air quality by doing simple things, such as using public transit, reducing our driving speed and not letting our car engines idle unnecessarily. If you are experiencing symptoms, such as coughing or throat irritation, consider reducing or rescheduling strenuous outdoor activities until the special air quality statement is lifted.

Exposure to air pollution is particularly a health concern for people with heart or breathing problems, those with diabetes, children and the elderly. You can limit exposure to air pollution by avoiding source emissions, where possible,such as on busy roads or heavy traffic areas. For more information on current air quality, visit gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/air-land-water/air. Visit airhealth.ca for information on how to reduce your health risk and your personal contribution to pollution levels, as well as for current and forecast AQHI values.

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