Dust advisory from Smithers to Burns Lake

Smithers, Houston and Burns Lake dusty enough to warrant an air quality advisory.

While all the warmth and sunshine is welcomed by most, it also means things are getting dusty.

The nice weather has exposed all the gravel and dust lying below winter’s snow, with vehicles kicking it up into the stagnant air.

So much dust is in the air, Environment Canada and Northern Health have issued a road dust advisory for Smithers, Burns Lake and Houston.

The special air quality statement says high concentrations of coarse particulate matter are expected to persist until there is precipitation or dust suppression.

“Levels tend to be highest around busy roads and industrial operations. This advisory is in effect until further notice,” read the advisory.

“Persons with chronic underlying medical conditions should postpone strenuous exercise near busy roads until the advisory is lifted. Exposure is particularly a concern for infants, the elderly and those who have diabetes, and lung or heart disease.

“Real-time air quality observations and information regarding the health effects of air pollution can be found at www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/air-land-water/air.

“We can all help improve air quality by doing simple things, such as using public transit, reducing our driving speed and not letting our car engines idle unnecessarily.”

Road dust is measured as PM10, with 50 micrograms as the provincial air quality objective. On March 20 it was 99.4, 99.5 and 94.3 in Smithers, Burns Lake and Houston respectively.

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