Cleaner air means reducing wood smoke. Here's how:
- Use clean heat. If you heat with wood, switch to cleaner options for the health of your family and neighbours. Visit our Switch to Clean Heat page for information on options and rebates. And read our article comparing operating costs for different heat sources. You might be surprised to learn that non-wood heat is often cheaper.
- Stop outdoor burning. If you burn wood or yard waste outside, you are impacting your neighbours' enjoyment of their property and their health.
- Help raise awareness. Talk to friends and family about the health risks of wood smoke pollution. Share our resources.
- Contact elected officials. Call for immediate action to clean up our air and protect our health. Download email addresses on our resources page.
- Educate about health impacts. Increased awareness of the health risks of wood smoke increases motivation and support for change, at both the household and community level.
- Stop normalizing wood burning. Education focused on improving burning practices must include clear and strong health messages about the risks of wood smoke and also encourage transition to cleaner sources of heat.
Use Financial Tools
- Ensure good incentive & loan programs. Except for baseboard heating, most other sources of heat cost about the same or even less to operate than wood heat, for people who buy their wood (see our article comparing heating costs). But the cost of changing over to cleaner appliances, is a known barrier. We need good incentive or loan programs to help people switch to cleaner, non-solid fuel appliances. Wood stove rebates are not a solution to pollution.
- Ensure affordable energy: We also need to ensure electricity, our cleanest energy source, is affordable.
- Support energy efficiency programs: Better insulated homes mean reduced heating costs and impacts.
- Remove barriers: Dropping off yard waste at landfills should be free, and composting and chipping should be promoted.
- We need enforceable laws that:
- Regulate the use of wood stoves (e.g. define legal fuels; institute no burn days when air quality is poor; deal with excessive emissions; phase out use in populated areas).
- Regulate the type of appliance allowed (e.g. stop the installation of new stoves; decommission older stoves).
- Include meaningful monitoring and enforcement tools (e.g. require registration of stoves; have meaningful penalties; don't place burden of protecting public health on complaints from neighbours).
- End yard waste and open burning. Prevent outdoor burning of all types.
Help Change happen!
Remember when doctors used to recommend cigarette brands and people smoked in planes, bars, restaurants, workplaces and cars with kids?
Change does happen. We can get clean air in the Comox Valley. But for it to happen, we need political will and leadership, and community involvement.
What you can do:
1. Contact your politicians and ask for:
- Public education on health impacts of wood smoke and on clean energy alternatives.
- Regulatory measures to:
- Protect people’s right to clean air in their home; and
- Reduce emissions and improve overall air quality
- Better incentives for people to move to clean heating sources.
- Immediate action. We know enough; it’s time to act!
See our Resources page for email addresses of people to write to.
2. Support our work
Breathe Clean Air is a group of volunteers concerned about the health impacts of wood smoke in the Valley.
If you'd like to get involved, please contact us. Or please donate to support our work.