in our region is good and usually easily meets federal objectives
for main air pollutants. For most common air contaminants, our air
quality is better than it was 20 years ago, even with the growth
in population and economic activity we've experienced.
But the air quality situation in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley
can be challenging. There are an ever-increasing number of sources
of emissions spread across the area. Industrial operations, commercial
facilities such as dry cleaners and gas stations, home furnaces,
fireplaces, and the steady streams of cars, trucks and buses all
generate air pollution.
Our region's geography and the weather conditions also contribute
to the difficulties we face in ensuring clean air. Maintaining our
air quality at the same time as our population increases can be
a balancing act.
GVRD's role in air quality
Under provincial legislation the GVRD is responsible for managing
the quality of air in the region. As part of its duties, the GVRD
monitors air quality, controls the industrial, commercial and some
residential sources of air pollution, creates long-term plans and
There are thousands of sources of air pollutants in the Lower Mainland. These sources range from passenger vehicles to industrial plants, from bulk refueling stations to the furnaces in our homes. The GVRD tracks the output of the most common air pollutants through studies called emission inventories.
The level of air pollutants in different areas of the Lower Mainland can
be an important thing to know, particularly for those residents and visitors
who suffer from respiratory conditions such as asthma. To help protect
their health, the GVRD constantly monitors the air quality. GVRD staff
use this air quality information to calculate a standardized measurement
called the Air Quality Index which is available to the public.
The GVRD reviews past, current and predicted regional trends, and the
latest science and knowledge to develop policies that will ensure the
sustainability of future air resources. New programs seek to address the
problems of local air quality and climate change simultaneously. These
programs fall under a region-wide plan called the Air Quality Management
Through an air quality regulatory program, the GVRD sets allowable emission
levels for industries and businesses. Inspectors ensure compliance with
permits and emission regulations. Voluntary emission guidelines and educational
programs are provided to commercial and industrial operations to help
them reduce air pollution.
The GVRD is also developing approaches to address air pollution from many
smaller sources such as drycleaners and paper product manufacturers and
is providing resources to help businesses improve the energy efficiency
of new and existing buildings.
Concern over the quality of our air has prompted the GVRD to develop and
implement programs of public consultation and residential emission reduction
programs. The GVRD is becoming increasingly involved in managing climate
change and greenhouse gas (GHG).
Cars and light-duty trucks account for two-thirds of vehicle-related air pollution in the Lower Fraser Valley Airshed.
- An average vehicle emits 240 grams of CO2 per kilometre traveled. For a vehicle traveling 20,000 km in one year, that adds up to 4.8 tonnes of CO2 released into the environment.
Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) - New way to protect your health. Check out this new website brought to you by BC Ministry of Environment. more