As poor air quality conditions in Metro Vancouver continue, Environment Canada has expanded the advisory to include ground-level ozone – a major component in smog.
Their most recent statement is in effect for:
- Metro Vancouver NE
- Metro Vancouver NW
- Metro Vancouver SE
- Metro Vancouver SW
Wildfires in both British Columbia and the western United States are still prompting high concentrations of fine particulate matter (PM2.5).
In addition, concentrations of ozone have reached advisory levels in eastern Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.
The high concentrations of ozone are expected to persist until tomorrow.
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 in 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 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.
As always, Vancouverites are recommended to avoid strenuous outdoor activities, to seek out cooler, indoor spaces, and to stay hydrated.
A slight improvement in air quality is expected this weekend with rain in the forecast across the province.