Breathe Clean Air sent this letter to local elected officials today. If you are concerned about the impacts of burning on your physical and mental health during COVID-19, we encourage you to let our elected representatives know as soon as possible. We have a list of their emails on our website (link will open a WORD file).
Dear elected representatives;
While much of the world has experienced a reduction in air pollution as things have been shutting down, the Comox Valley has experienced a worsening of our air quality. In the last week, our Air Quality Health Index has consistently registered some of the highest readings in quite a while.
More people staying home has, unfortunately, meant more burning has been going on.
In particular, we have heard from different people about the increase in yard waste burning. People are smelling it in their homes and exposed to it on their walks. And people inside our municipalities have also noted an increase in the use of wood stoves.
As we all know by now, fine particulate matter and other toxins in wood smoke impact people’s health. In these times of COVID-19, we are all taking unusual measures to improve health outcomes and protecting respiratory health is more important than ever. People are doing their best to try and protect themselves and others, but it is hard to self isolate on your own property and take care of your physical and mental health when your own yard and home are being bathed in smoke.
We urge CVRD to implement an immediate ban on yard waste burning and, to help with this, waive fees at the dump for dropping off yard waste and encourage alternatives to burning.
We also urge all local governments to include messages in your public communications stressing the importance of helping each other protect their lungs by reducing everyone’s exposure to smoke.
From CVRD’s website:
“Small particulate pollution has health impacts even at very low concentrations – indeed no threshold has been identified below which no damage to health is observed.”
– World Health Organization, 2018
for Breathe Clean Air Comox Valley