Why are we sacrificing our children’s health?

Why are we sacrificing our children’s health?

North Cowichan needs to provide chippers and more curbside pick ups

Why are we sacrificing our children’s health?

The reason we were hardest hit on many of the recent air quality advisories is because we are a valley, which is like an aquarium, and the wind blows straight across the top without disturbing the smoke inside the aquarium.

Port Alberni is the only other community locked in by mountains but Cowichan has a far worse scenario for trapping smoke because we are on an inside passage, our escape route is blocked by Saltspring and we’re virtually at sea level. All these factors combine to hold smoke indefinitely in our Valley especially with the temperature inversions we get every day starting very soon.

It may be the fastest way to clear up property debris but when we have the statistics here of 70 per cent higher children’s respiratory hospital visits, much higher asthma and COPD figures than provincial averages, the knowledge that 54 per cent of our air quality problems issue from outdoor burning, and the fact that we are almost on the WHO world’s worst air quality list, this is not acceptable.

Why are we sacrificing our children’s health? North Cowichan needs to provide chippers and more curbside pick ups as that is the solution to debris removal — burning is not — everyone has the right to breathe fresh air, as per the Blue Dot Agreement (Suzuki) signed by North Cowichan. Another really good point to remember is that heart attacks and strokes are caused by smoke pollution and the figures are actually far ahead of any respiratory problems caused by smoke inhalation.

Most other nearby communities have banned outdoor burning — it is like they are re-introducing smoking sections in restaurants when the rest of the world moved in the opposite direction. Extending the burning season to mid-September when people are still trying to enjoy their gardens and to the end of November when everything is wet is absolute madness. People need to write to council@northocwichan.ca to let them know that we are truly tired of breathing smoke in the valley.

Jennifer Lawson

Cowichan Valley