After reading the article about the clean air advocates’ solution to improve air quality, I can only come to the conclusion they haven’t thought through the results of their idea to a complete ban on open burning and even demonizing wood burning heat.
The first law of thermodynamics states that energy cannot be created or destroyed, only changed from one form to another. That said, what happens to all the material that is being burned now? It would have to be processed, transported and put through some other form of decomposition that still produces the exact same amount of gases as burning, only at a slower rate. Only there are the additional emissions in the transportation and processing.
But as the quantity of decomposing material builds up we eventually have the same problem in the near future but with no way to do anything about it.
This is the case now in Richmond, where the complaint is the composting facility is now too stinky and they are applying for a permit to release more emissions.
So a complete ban on open burning is only a Band-aid solution that will harm those that need to burn because there is not a comparable economical solution to the need to burn. As there are more people there will be more waste from the space they need to live, to the consumption needed to live, and keep an economy going.
Unless there is an economically viable alternative solution that can be implemented that doesn’t end up with the equivalent problem in the near future, the only viable option is to optimize the current, very well thought out Open Burning Bylaws to optimize the best weather cycles to permit the burning in those times when the least affect on air quality can be achieved.
We have to live with our waste one way or another, and just because you are not directly responsible for one type of emission doesn’t mean you don’t contribute in the chain of events that create the need for the emissions. E.g. the farmer down the road has a stump pile burning. He needs more cleared land to raise more crops to feed the growing population that is getting picky about the quality so half of the crop gets wasted and composts one place or another. Not to mention the decomposing sewage from the other half that was put to good use. All of which effect the air quality.
Municipality of North Cowichan