Did You Know?
Hospital visits as a result of poor air quality cost our B.C. health care system up to $85 million a year. These costs – and the human suffering they represent – can be reduced. This Air Action Plan is part of the solution.
Clean air and a healthy environment are fundamental to our quality of life and, here
in British Columbia, we’re fortunate to have some of the cleanest air anywhere. We are
exposed to far fewer pollutants than people in more industrialized parts of the world.
As B.C. continues to grow, keeping our air clean is more and more challenging. We have
to consider not just the sources of pollutants, but how their impacts on health and the
environment can vary with geography, changes in the weather, and other factors beyond
our control. For example, in some of our valleys, air quality can be excellent on clear,
windy days but poor when temperature inversions trap pollutants in the local airshed. We
need to plan for the full range of circumstances and, as our communities grow, make sure
levels of harmful pollutants do not grow alongside them.
As our province tackles the challenges of climate change, keeping our air clean is more
important than ever before. Warmer temperatures can result in higher concentrations of
some air pollutants. They can also increase the number and frequency of forest fires, which
are a leading contributor to one of the most harmful air pollutants: fine particulate matter.
The good news is that greenhouse gases and air pollutants share a number of common
sources. And B.C. is moving forward to address both issues simultaneously.
That’s why the government has developed this Air Action Plan as part of its broader
strategy to lead the world in sustainable environmental management with the best
air and water quality, and the best fisheries management, bar none. The Plan sets out
28 actions to reduce air pollution, complementing the government’s plan to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions, and the new B.C. Energy Plan which ensures, among other
things, that at least 90 per cent of the electricity generated in B.C. will continue to come
from clean or renewable sources.
The government is dedicating $28.5 million over three years to implement this Air Action
Plan, in partnership with industry, communities and other levels of government.
You can make a difference too. In fact, individuals who cut their contributions to air
pollution can have the biggest impact of all – especially with support from communities
and government. And don’t forget: even small changes in our day-to-day lives can make
a big difference. Nothing is more important than the air we breathe. We literally cannot
live without it. So let’s work together to keep it clean and healthy – for our families and
communities, for generations to come.