April 21st, 2024

City needs a clean-air policy


By Letter to the Editor on February 25, 2021.

Editor:
A Lethbridge senior shared with me how the other day at home, they felt nauseous and dizzy, with wood smoke in the air. The heart warning light on their blood pressure monitor was lit up. Smoke was found to be thick, heavy and overpowering from an outdoor wood fire nearby.
We have bylaws prohibiting smoking near schoolyards and city-owned playground equipment. To be consistent and responsible, the city also needs to prevent and prohibit needless smoke pollution in neighbourhoods.
In residential zones of cities like Vancouver, the only fuels permitted for outdoor burning are non-wood-burning ones, which emit less CO2 than wood, and fewer harmful particulates.
As Vancouver’s bylaw states, open-air fires on either public or private property are NOT allowed if they are: \”Chimineas burning wood; Sky lantern (small hot air balloon made of paper with an opening at the bottom where a small fire is suspended); Fire pit burning wood; Burn barrel burning paper or wood.”
Why are residents of Lethbridge not protected in the same way?
Clearly, organizations like the Alberta Lung Association must start doing a much better job of informing the public, including decision-makers, about the harmful impacts of particulate matter and outdoor air pollution, which are both Group 1 carcinogens.
Air pollution worsens climate change while damaging health and quality of life in neighbourhoods. According to the World Health Organization, air pollution, from sources including wood fires, is responsible for an estimated 7 million premature deaths annually worldwide.
It’s time for a positive change. It’s time for our local government to adopt clean air policies that protect citizens both young and old – and to no longer leave them in harm’s way.
Cathy Baiton
Lethbridge

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IMO

Including wood pellet fired BBQ’s!

StopBurningWood

Indeed! In fact, such a policy should cover ALL sources of pollution since they are all harmful (albeit to slightly-differing degrees).

biff

what? does a mask not help? is the matter emitted from the fire larger than that of virus? perhaps the issue has more to do with poor insulation than the odd fire? or, did person feel a need to have windows open in january?

StopBurningWood

Masks help with particulate matter but not gases. Burning wood emits plenty of hazardous gases that masks can’t filter, including nitrogen dioxide (the main constituent of smog and a precursor to ground-level ozone), formaldehyde, benzene, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).
In other words, no, masks will not protect you from wood smoke.

Tanya

PM 2.5 mask do help, but why do I have to wear the in my home all because you want your house 90 degree so you can walk around in your undies?

johnny57

Just might be time for you to wear a bubble suit Cathy! I am sure you can order one on-line! You can order anything on-line Cathy! That way you are protected from the dust-storms we have here with our hurricane-force winds. Then there’s those bad people that have those inhumane fire-pits. How dare they think they can enjoy their backyards and family’s with a small little barbeque fire in a time of lock-down! Trampling on the rights of people like yourself Cathy. You have every right to demand that every molecule of fresh air that enters your lungs be of the highest quality possible. And if not then there’s hell-to-pay! Right?
“Its time for a positive change” In my opinion that change will come when people like yourself stop griping about life’s petty problems.

biff

i might agree with you j57, but not until you stop wearing cologne/perfume/deodorant. let us all stand for planet neutral, and work to remove scent, colour, and any narrative that is not endorsed by govt and enshrined as official gospel by the likes of farcebook, twitville, google-gaga.

buckwheat

Some people just have BO.

johnny57

Wow you really are on a rage biff-just wondering if its to the point of being pathological! Then YOU just might agree with me on the very very odd issue? That’s really scary! I think I am going to hide under my bed covers lol. Planet neutral? The only neutral I am familiar with is when I am coasting with my truck and the shifter is in neutral. Oops Johnny made a mistake by admitting he owns a truck, that could start a whole new narrative here! And yes its powered by that bad bad fossil fuel. Strike three soon if I don’t shut-up!

Fescue

… Confederate flag in the rear window?

johnny57

Actually its a Alberta-first flag in the rear-window! Luckily for the rest of us you will never own one!

StopBurningWood

As long as their actions don’t harm (i.e. infringe on the rights of) others, then I’m fine with it. All Cathy is asking is for people to stop burning and polluting in ways that hurt others. Seems like a pretty fair request to me!

Tanya

Why do you think its fair to burn with your family in the backyard and put your smoke on another person’s property? Then force them to breath what you are burning, what gives you the right to trampling on Her rights and then tell her to get a bubble suit? Take the 30 day challenge put all the smoke in your house for you and your kids to if you all get sick.

johnny57

Why do they get to start their vehicle and allow all that exhaust to spill-over to my property? I should (like you) be incensed about that or I could play the logical card and think I personally can’t regulate other people and their activities!
You might want to order one of those bubble-suits. You and Cathy could order together and maybe receive a “more than one discount” for your troubles.

Tanya

Johnny57 That’s it??? Get a bubble suit?? You must be a regular burner; they like to attack me personally all because we want to breathe clean air. You see I’m dying from lung problems so how about this; I take your lungs and you take mine so I can live longer. No… not good? The take all the smoke you produce and pump it into your house and after 30 days we will see if you still believe that smoke is ok.

biff

let me clear the air on my take: i see burning wood as ok, so long as it is not too frequent and too widespread. everything has limits, including, however, what we expect as reasonable from others. a handful of sensible backyard fires a year, and, so long as one’s neighbours are not asking one to refrain due to their health issues should be acceptable. wood chip/charcoal bbqs should be acceptable…sorry, imo.

johnny57

“sorry,imo.” Breaking with the do-gooder ranks! There will be swift retribution for your sin biff!

StopBurningWood

No type and duration of burning is healthy. That’s just reality. However, forcing others to endure the pollution you produce is just wrong. There’s no acceptable amount of pollution that someone can force upon others.
That being said, it IS possible to burn WITHOUT harming others, although it will still harm you personally so it isn’t really a good idea. My personal stance is this: burn if you want, smoke if you want, whatever, but just don’t do so in any way that hurts others.
Just common courtesy, that’s all.

Tanya

Really you don’t think wood smoke is bad, Trees take in co2 and when you burn, you release the co2 it held, which makes burring trees more dangerous to global warming. I have emphysema from an outdoor wood burning furnace. You still don’t believe, take the 30 day challenge; You pump all the smoke from your place back into your house and see at the end of the 30 days if you have problems with smoke and breathing.

Last edited 3 years ago by Tanya