Bans not the answer to Cowichan Valley air pollution problem

I went out for a stroll the other day. Midway through the walk, I heard a loud roar of an automobile from behind me.

Re: “A short rant on air pollution”, (Citizen, Dec. 28)

I went out for a stroll the other day. Midway through the walk, I heard a loud roar of an automobile from behind me. As the car went by, the noise of the old worn out engine and antiquated exhaust just about gave me hearing damage. Once it passed, my eyes were left burning from the noxious smell from the tailpipe of spent petroleum and the haze of burnt motor oil. As I continued my way up the hill, I was passed by a noisy old diesel car spewing black soot from its tailpipe, leaving a black haze for me to choke on.

As we all have to share the air I believe the only solution to this problem is for our local municipality and regional district to place a complete ban of ALL cars and trucks. This is the only way to stop the pollution and reducing our carbon footprint. A total ban on cars and trucks. Problem, reaction, solution, done.

In addition, let’s ban wood stoves, close down the pulp and paper industry as well and we can all breathe and sleep better. Is this realistic? Maybe this needs re-evaluation. The problem is air pollution. The reaction is voicing your concern/action. The solution is new laws and complete bans?

In an age of technology let’s look at existing technology and education as a solution. Modern wood burning devices are engineered in the same way as a car. The exhaust can be pretty clean with new technology. Key to this is a fuel-air ratio and time, temperature, and turbulence. Anything visible coming out the tailpipe/chimney is raw, wasted, unspent fuel. When my wood stove is running you do not see any smoke from the chimney. Do I run my stove all the time? No. I have a ductless inverter system running my main heat. On the occasion of severe cold past -10 to -15 C or power outage I have a back up, but I can afford this, not everyone can.

Using/recycling wood as a biomass to heat our homes should not be completely banned. Is it a perfect zero emission with no PM, VOC, and other toxins? No, but using new technologies it can be near zero and remain a viable heating option. Education plays a role in this as well. The effect of burning wet wood vs properly seasoned dry wood plays a major part in what comes out the chimney. Now as for pulp and paper smells, what you smell is something called TRS “ total reduced sulphur” a bi-product of kraft paper production, not wood smoke. EPA lists this as a nuisance but not dangerous. Is it ironic that the rant you wrote is published and printed on the paper from the mill that you condemn?

As for automobiles, I see that people and councillors are proposing an anti-idling bylaw. If government is trying to come up with a solution to the problem of carbon emissions from driving and idling maybe we should take a different approach?

Let’s look if I drove a work vehicle weighing up to X number of tons from Mill Bay to the north side of Duncan. Traffic lights are timed that driving from A-B would result in typically 10-20 stops and starts.

Think about the amount of fuel used i.e. “emissions Y” to bring that truck from 0-90 km/h? Now make that truck do this up to x# of times. When that truck enters Duncan you get bumper to bumper traffic that takes three or four lights to get through town. Now think about the extra fuel that was wasted with all these cars doing the same thing. In comparison think about the amount of fuel that a vehicle uses sitting in one spot idling with the computer and sensors monitoring the air fuel in a closed loop operation for 60 seconds. Now I’m not promoting that people idle their vehicles without reason but would it not make more sense that our government makes changes in the proficiency of how traffic can get from A to B with the least amount of stops and starts?

Proposing and enforcing an anti-idling bylaw propagates government rules and taxation. It is not a solution. In 2017 I hope that our government and society can use common sense with education and technology for our advancement, not fines and bans.


S. Duifhuis

Cowichan Bay