I am writing to inform you that Courtenay made it onto the world’s worst air quality list — and that means we are inches away, as we are right behind them on the B.C. List, making us one of the worst in Canada.
The reason Dr. Hasselback, our MOH came here is because of the huge spike in asthma in Cowichan. Very few here know this and are just clinging to the fact that wood smoke is all natural.
As PM 2.5 (the minute particles emitted by wood burning) is so small it bypasses our mucous membranes and enters straight into the bloodstream there are five cardiac conditions that precede any lung issues from its inhalation. That’s why Dr. Hasselback calls it the hidden killer.
Further to a well-funded and beautifully organized CVRD airshed forum, many recommendations emerged. The easiest of which need to be implemented, as we are seeing little change thus far.
The Cowichan Fresh Air Team would like some answers as to why some simple and effective measures are not now in place. No one has the right to take away others’ rights to breathe fresh (non-polluted) air and yet this incursion onto one’s property is considered normal in Cowichan. There are now strict bylaws covering cigarette smoking and yet on the home front where we spend most of our time we have absolutely no protection from the most detrimental pollution of all.
We are seeking funds to match a grant offered by the CVRD to purchase purple air monitors to increase the monitoring we have in Cowichan. We now have three place by the Ministry of Environment but poor air quality tends to be very localized, so more are needed to quantify the poor level of air that we have here in cooler months. These monitors were invented by Dr. Hensche in the U.S. and they hook up to a central location in Salt Lake City and can be read by all at any time, giving accurate readings and data.
Cowichan Fresh Air Team