BC Wildfire Service image of ongoing Shovel Lake wildfire. The fire is currently active at 86,397 hectares as of Aug. 21.

In Our Opinion: Want clean air? Come to Rupert

Northern B.C. air quality as bad as New Delhi after wildfires rage in the region

Take a deep breath. With that fresh ocean air, it’s hard to imagine what the air quality is in other parts of the province right now.

When the B.C. government declared a state of emergency, for the second summer in a row due to the wildfires spreading across the province, it almost didn’t compute in Prince Rupert.

Air quality is one of the issues our fellow B.C. residents are facing, something we rarely have to consider in Prince Rupert where the air flows so effectively that an airshed report in 2016 stated that if six LNG projects, growth at the port, and rail development occurred all at once the North Coast would easily be able to cope with emissions.

But LNG didn’t happen, and while the port may continue to grow, our air is clean and absent of the fine particulate matter (PM) that residents of northern B.C. are breathing in due to smoke from wildfires.

The finest of particles, PM2.5, poses the greatest risk. The material is so small that while breathing it in particles can get into your lungs, even your heart and bloodstream.

On Sunday, Aug. 19, Prince George and Vanderhoof were under air quality alerts. From the Prince George Plaza the 24-hour average of PM2.5 was 152.4 µg/m3 and from the courthouse in Vanderhoof the air quality was at PM2.5 140 µg/m3. To put this into perspective, New Delhi, which has the worst levels of PM2.5 in the world, was at 153 PM2.5 on the same day.

READ MORE: B.C. declares state of emergency as more than 560 wildfires rage

In other parts of the province, tourists are deterred from visiting the lakes and mountains with wildfires burning and the government declaring a state of emergency.

Why not come to Prince Rupert instead?

There are many reasons why people move to Prince Rupert but you don’t often hear that it’s due to breathing in clean air.

With two explosive fire seasons in a row, the B.C. government should consider setting up a sanatorium, or a Miller Bay-type facility, on the North Coast for those suffering from smoke related illnesses. For those who don’t remember, Miller Bay treated Indigenous patients who had tuberculosis, a very serious lung disease.

Nevermind losing a home, or a neighbourhood to a fire. It’s terrifying to think what the health care costs are going to be in the future.

READ MORE: Some of B.C.’s air quality levels worse than Jodhpur, India



newsroom@thenorthernview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Smooth sailing expected on 14 major roads in Prince Rupert by end of summer

Construction underway with city’s $2.4 million paving budget

City of Prince Rupert seeking public input on Community Enhancement Grants

Survey now available to the public focusing on project priorities

Junior A hockey on the horizon for Prince Rupert player

Brett Fudger signs with the Vernon Vipers of the BCHL

Break-in at Prince Rupert Post Office causes service delay

Office closed most of July 8 morning after overnight forced entry

Global Sports Bra Squad Day in Rupert

The event encourages athletes to run in whatever makes them comfortable regardless of shape or size

Olympic softball qualifier gets $150K boost from provincial government

2019 Americas Qualifier to be held in Surrey from Aug. 25-Sept. 1

Gas price inquiry questions Trans Mountain capacity, company denies collusion

The first of up to four days of oral hearings in the inquiry continue in Vancouver

‘Benzos’ and fentanyl a deadly cocktail causing a growing concern on B.C. streets

Overdoses caused by benzodiazepines can’t be reversed with opioid-overdose antidote naloxone

Will you be celebrating national hotdog day with any of these crazy flavours?

The popularity of hotdogs spans generations, cultures

Former home of accused Penticton shooter vandalized

Ex-wife of man who is accused of murdering four people had her house vandalized

Survivor of near-drowning in B.C. lake viewing life through new eyes

“If I died that day, the baby wouldn’t know his dad,” said 31-year-old Mariano Santander-Melo.

‘Beyond the call’: Teen in police custody gets birthday surprise by B.C. Mountie

Unusual celebration started when Staff Sgt. Paul Vadik went to visit the teen in his Coquitlam cell

Thunderstorms forecast across B.C.

Environment Canada has issued a thunderstorm watch for B.C.’s central Interior

Most Read