Caring For The Air – How Have We Touched Your Life?

How Have We Touched Your Life explainer graphicMetro Vancouver’s air quality and climate change programs aim to make a difference in our lives and these initiatives are having a positive impact. Over the past few years the health risk from air quality was in the ‘low’ category more than 99% of the time. By the numbers, here are important outcomes we have achieved:

Woodstove Exchange – Reducing the #1 Source of Fine Particulate Matter

PM2.5, also known as fine particulate matter refers to particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns in size. That’s 30 times smaller than the thickness of a human hair! These tiny particles are created when wood or other plant material is burned. They can stay in the air for weeks and travel thousands of miles. They also present a health risk because they can end up deep within our respiratory systems, worsening symptoms for asthma sufferers and contributing to lung diseases.

Heating our homes using woodstoves and fireplaces is the dominant source of fine particulate matter emissions in our region. But since 2009, over 345 homes have taken advantage of the Metro Vancouver woodstove exchange program. The result? A reduction in PM2.5 emissions by approximately 6000 kg a year!

Find out more about particulate matter with this fact sheet.

Stringent Emission Standards Reduce Diesel Particulate Matter by 60%

Diesel engines emit a complex mixture of air pollutants. The visible emissions are particulate matter (PM), sometimes called “diesel soot”. The particles are composed of carbon coated with other chemicals found in the exhaust gases, some of which can cause cancer. When inhaled, the smallest of these particles can become embedded in the lungs or potentially pass through the lungs directly into the blood stream.

Since the beginning of 2012, owners of the dirtiest non-road diesel engines havehad to label and register these engines, and pay fees to operate them in Metro Vancouver. Higher fees are paid for the dirtiest engines under the non-road diesel engine regulation bylaw and the oldest engines are prohibited from operating if they haven’t already been registered.  You can get complete details at:
http://www.metrovancouver.org/services/Permits-regulations-enforcement/non-road-diesel/Pages/default.aspx

Diesel PM is linked to premature death and a number of heart and lung diseases. Diesel PM emissions are responsible for two-thirds of the lifetime cancer risk from air pollution in Metro Vancouver. Exposure to diesel PM is a health hazard, particularly to children, the elderly and those working around diesel exhaust. Learn more about the health impacts of diesel PM by checking out the health facts sheet.

In Our Harbour, Reducing the Impact of Shipping
In 2014 Port Metro Vancouver joined us at a Sustainability Breakfast to describe initiatives the port is undertaking to reduce air emissions.

Watch even more Metro Vancouver videos and our popular seminars such as the Sustainability Breakfasts and Zero Waste Conference. Check out our new and improved Video Gallery with a searchable index of hundreds of videos.

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