Earlier this week, the Comox Valley Community Foundation released its Vital Signs 2018 report. One notable change since the last report two years ago is people’s view of air quality.
As noted in the document, Vital Signs reports are “a community checkup conducted by community foundations across Canada that measures the vitality of our communities and identifies significant trends in a range of areas critical to quality of life.”
In the 2016 Vital Signs report for the Comox Valley, the statement “There is good air quality in the Comox Valley” was ranked a 2.6 (out of possible 10) (p.9). However, in 2018, that dropped to just 0.1. which means far fewer agreed we have good air quality (p. 13).
Cumberland residents even more unhappy
And in Cumberland, where people are clearly not happy with the air quality, the score dropped from -3 to -3.2.
This was, by far, the lowest score for any of the items in the Environment & Sustainability category.
Air quality makes the priority list
Also, the list of top priorities for the Environment & Sustainability category didn’t include air quality at all in 2016; but it was #2 on the 2018 list of priorities in this category.
Clearly, people are increasingly recognizing that our air quality is poor and it needs to be improved. Now, we just need action so we can make that a reality!
The report also included an important quote from the Medical Health Officer for our area, Dr. Charmaine Enns:
“There is no safe limit for air pollution. The lower the levels of PM2.5 [fine particulate matter], the better the health of the population will be. In the Comox Valley, PM2.5 from biomass burning (wood burning) is associated with an increased risk of heart attack in those over 65 years of age. During the cold season when residential wood burning is at its highest the risk of a heart attack in Comox Valley residents over 65 years increases by 19%.”