Poor venting leads to build up of pollution

These images are from Monday morning from 2 different webcams in the valley. They clearly highlight what happens when people do open burning during poor venting conditions. Lighting a BC regulated open burn has been illegal for at least three days (including today), but there was a largish column of smoke to the south of town on Sunday.

Add to that all of the people out burning “yard waste” on a glorious fall weekend (glorious but with poor venting), and then the wood stoves at night, and you have a significant build up of harmful pollution over our communities.

Sadly, this is not an uncommon sight. Clearly current regulations and enforcement are not working.

Neither yard waste burning or wood stove use is regulated by venting conditions in the Comox Valley (in some areas of BC, yard waste burning is illegal if the venting conditions are poor). BC’s open burning regulations were tightened over a year ago, to help reduce smoke pollution in populated areas, but clearly this is not making a difference.

Last spring, there was a burning ban because of COVID. I have been told by CVRD they are not looking at another ban, unless BC institutes one.

Please consider writing to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Hon. George Heyman (ENV.Minister@gov.bc.ca), and the Minister of Health, Hon. Adrian Dix (HLTH.minister@gov.bc.ca), and Dr. Bonnie Henry (bonnie.henry@gov.bc.ca) to request one.

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