Gabriola, is smoke drifting through your air? In our part of the island lots of people are burning up yard waste (and heaven knows what else) in back yard fires. After days of smoke, I began to wonder about the health effects. Is this bad for us?
Any form of burning can lead to particle pollution. One of the largest sources of particulate matter in B.C. is residential wood burning. Wood smoke may come from sources such as a fireplace or woodstove within a home, slash burning, or beehive burners. (…)
Particulate matter is considered to be the air pollutant of greatest concern to human health within B.C. Research has shown that even low levels of particulate matter can lead to increased deaths, emergency room visits, hospital stays, and days lost from work or school.
Children and older adults are most likely to be affected by this type of air pollution. As well, premature death can occur in those with heart or lung diseases. [continue]
Alarming, isn’t it?
The Backyard Burning and Air Quality page at Greenmuze notes:
Burning slash and backyard debris in open burn fires contributes to the reduction in air quality. Wood burning, in general, releases carbon and a number of toxic chemicals into our air and the atmosphere. All of these contribute to poor air quality for those who have compromised respiratory systems, especially children’s developing lungs, and for those who consider themselves healthy, there is diminished air quality, and a reduction in the quality of life and health.
The issue seems quite straightforward. If we don’t want to continue to jeopardize the health of ourselves, the planet, and future generations, we will have to bring an end to burning slash and backyard debris. Many jurisdictions across Canada have already legislated such burning out of existence. [continue]
OK, so. If wood smoke is such a serious health problem, why do we allow all this burning to go on?
- Wood Smoke and the Atmospheric Commons: Protecting and Preserving the Right to Breathe Clean Air – article by Michael Mehta, published in the Flying Shingle
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