METRO Vancouver is now issuing an Air Quality Advisory for eastern parts of Metro Vancouver (Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Surrey, Langley, Maple Ridge, and Pitt Meadows) and the Fraser Valley Regional District because of high concentrations of ground-level ozone that are expected to persist until a change in weather.
This advisory is for ground-level ozone, however there is a noticeable haze in the region which is due to wildfire smoke over the South Coast from wildfires burning throughout the Pacific Northwest. Wildfire smoke concentrations are not causing particulate matter air quality objectives to be exceeded.
Ground-level ozone is not emitted directly into the air. It is formed when nitrogen oxides (pollutants emitted when fuels are burned) and volatile organic compounds (emitted from solvents) react in the air in the presence of sunlight. The highest levels of ground-level ozone are generally observed between mid-afternoon and early evening on summer days.
Avoid strenuous outdoor activities during mid-afternoon to early evening, when ozone levels are highest. Exposure is particularly a concern for infants, the elderly and those who have underlying medical conditions such as lung or heart disease and asthma. If you are experiencing symptoms such as chest discomfort, shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing, follow the advice of your healthcare provider. As we are in the summer season with warm temperatures, it is also important to stay cool and hydrated. Indoor spaces with air conditioning may offer relief from both heat and air pollution.
This advisory is expected to continue until there is a change in the current weather.
Metro Vancouver works in cooperation with Environment and Climate Change Canada, Fraser Valley Regional District and B.C. Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy to look after air quality.
Information about real-time air quality readings for Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley communities and potential health impacts can be found at www.airmap.ca and http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/epd/