File photo

Air quality warning in effect for West Kootenay, elevated pollution occurring

Environment Canada and Interior Health issue special statement

Environment Canada issued a special air quality statement for the West Kootenay on Monday.

The advisory notes that elevated pollution levels are expected or will be occurring over the next few days.

“Persons in or near this area should be on the lookout for adverse weather conditions and take necessary safety precautions,” the release reads.

Later in the afternoon, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy in collaboration with Interior Health, issued a Dust Advisory for the Castlegar area, due to high concentrations of dust that were expected to persist.

Exposure is particularly a concern for pregnant women, infants, the elderly and those who have underlying medical conditions such as breathing or lung conditions, hay fever, asthma or persons who react strongly to dust.

Anyone experiencing symptoms such as continuing eye or throat irritation, chest discomfort, shortness of breath, cough or wheeze, is advised to follow the advice of a health care provider.

The Province of BC says taking action to reduce air pollution will help improve human health, reach air quality targets, preserve the environment and enhance economic advantages.

Understanding the source, location and types of emissions in any given area is valuable and allows communities to develop targeted actions that can improve air quality in a region.

For example, for regions with high particulate matter emissions in the winter, open burning and woodstove emissions could be targeted for reduction, thereby improving local air quality.

Air Quality Management is a collaborative effort between multiple stakeholders in a community. Information from data assessment, emissions inventory, and modelling results are often used to build a plan of action to reduce priority contaminants in a region.

Real-time air quality observations and information regarding the health effects of air pollution can be found online at gov.bc.ca/environment.

For information on how to reduce health risks and personal contributions to pollution levels, as well as for current and forecast air quality values, visit airhealth.ca.

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