Metro Vancouver has issued an Air Quality Bulletin for Metro Vancouver and the central Fraser Valley due to intermittent high concentrations of fine particulate matter that may occur over the weekend.
Right now, the air quality in the region is considered fair. However, the statement notes that a stagnant weather pattern over the region, "will bring temperature inversions and light winds, especially in the evening and overnight, causing fine particulate matter emitted by sources in our region to build up."
Metro Vancouver notes that Air Quality Bulletins are issued when air pollutant levels are expected to be elevated, but do not yet exceed levels that warrant the issuance of an Air Quality Advisory.
The bulletins also serve as a reminder for residents to lower their emissions as well as to warn those who are sensitive to degraded air quality.
Fine particulate matter, also known as PM2.5, refers to airborne solid or liquid droplets with a diameter of 2.5 micrometres (µm) or less. According to Metro Vancouver, fall weather conditions can lead to poor dispersion of air pollutants, which causes emissions from local sources such as vehicles, wood stoves, fireplaces, and outdoor burning to significantly impact the air quality in neighbourhoods.
As a result of these conditions, locals should minimize wood burning activities as well as the use of fireworks until weather conditions improve.
This bulletin is expected to continue until there is a change in the current weather.
Persons with chronic underlying medical conditions should consider postponing strenuous exercise until the bulletin is lifted. Exposure is particularly a concern for pregnant women and infants, the elderly and those who have diabetes, and lung or heart disease.
If you are experiencing symptoms such as chest discomfort, shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing, follow the advice of your healthcare provider.