Air quality advisory issued for Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley

Aug 12 2021, 12:36 pm

An air quality advisory has been issued for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley Regional District.

The bulletin was issued on Thursday afternoon by Metro Vancouver, ahead of high concentrations of fine particulate matter and wildfire smoke that’s expected over the coming days.

“Outflow winds are bringing smoke from wildfires burning in BC and Washington into and over the region, contributing to elevated fine particulate matter concentrations and hazy skies,” reads a statement from Metro Vancouver.

Wildfire smoke is currently affecting parts of the central and eastern Fraser Valley. Environment Canada has also issued a special air quality statement over the expected smoke, which could cause poor air quality and reduce visibility.

The advisory also warns of high concentrations of ground-level ozone in eastern metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.

Ground-level ozone, according to Environment Canada, is a colourless and highly irritating gas that forms just above the earth’s surface.

It’s produced when two primary pollutants – nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) – react with sunlight and stagnant air.

Air Quality Ontario explains that ozone is a major component of smog, as well.

Ozone can irritate both the respiratory tract and the eyes, and prolonged “exposure to high levels results in chest tightness, coughing, and wheezing.”

The highest levels of ground-level ozone are expected between mid-afternoon and early evening.

Vincent PlanaVincent Plana

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