Re: North Cowichan burning ban
Although councillors’ commitment to cleaner air in the Cowichan Valley is commendable, they need to be fair in addressing all causes of poor air quality and not singling out only one cause.
First, let’s look at our major Island highway running right through the lower levels of our Valley.
Recent studies have shown that children living close to a busy road have up to a 50 per cent greater risk of asthma symptoms, newborns with mothers that lived close to busy roads had even higher rates of asthma. Also known to some degree to affect dementia, autism, and allergy rates.
Pulp and paper emissions cause health hazards in our air, soil, and water.
Local community exposures include chlorinated organic compounds, polychlorinated dibenzoddioxins, polychlorinated dibenzoforans, as well as respirable particles of lime and sulphates to name a few.
Most exposure studies in pulp and paper making are of gaseous sulphur compounds, chlorine and clorine dioxide. They have been shown to have significant respiratory and cardiovascular affects.
I also do not condone those home owners who burn smudge-pot fires and claim it is their right. Proper burning with dry wood produces much smaller amounts of wood smoke.
Even if we have no wood smoke in the Valley we will still have significant air quality problems; punishing one group is not the answer.
Crofton must be pressed do better on air pollution. Timing highway lights to clear traffic through the Valley should be implemented.
Fining people for smudge-pot fires should be done; people would change how they burn. It is also long past time we stopped throwing away taxpayer money into train travel to Victoria.
The railway line should be ripped up, paved, and used for bus travel only, on a hourly basis to Victoria and back to start, adding more as ridership increases.
Bus stops should be only along the route with park and ride lots to begin with. A nominal parking fee can be charged to offset the cost of park and ride lots.
The bottom line is there are many things that can and should be undertaken to improve Valley air quality, before you take away the rights of people to heat their homes by properly burning wood.