Particulates from wildfire smoke cloud the air in front of my home. Should I go out? I don’t know if it’s safe. So I’ll stay inside and air a grievance I have with Environment Canada.
The agency’s website omits air quality readings from the Sunshine Coast. We should be listed.
On Saturday, Environment Canada issued a “Smoky Skies Bulletin” for the Sunshine Coast. It said we were “impacted or are likely to be impacted by wildfire smoke over the next 24-48 hours.”
For the next 48 hours I tried to keep track of the smoke. It was hard to do.
Environment Canada’s website lists air quality readings from large regions of the province such as Victoria/Saanich, as well as much smaller communities, such as Castlegar and Kitimat. (These had readings of 4, moderate risk; 2, low risk; and 4, respectively, at 8 a.m. Sunday.)
The Lower Sunshine Coast has about twice the population of Castlegar and Kitimat combined, yet it’s not listed. Neither are our largest coastal communities of Gibsons and Sechelt.
A commercial site, IQAIR, includes them on its air quality map. It shows readings from Langdale, Roberts Creek, Halfmoon Bay, and other coastal locations as well. But its website sells air monitoring equipment.
I’d rather rely on a public source of information with no vested interest in sales. That would be Environment Canada. It should include the Sunshine Coast on its Air Quality listing and map.
Many retirees here have breathing issues. Other Coastal residents are more likely than those in B.C.’s inland areas to regularly exercise outdoors. We need this information from our government.
Elizabeth Rains, Gibsons