Download the Air Action Plan [PDF 1.08MB]

Top 10 Ways You Can
Make a Difference

Did You Know?

If you buy a new certified woodstove, get regular tune-ups and drive less, you could reduce air pollutants by almost 100 kg -- this is equivalent to taking an older model car off the road for six months.

The BC Air Action Plan helps lead the way to a cleaner, greener British Columbia. It complements the provincial government’s initiatives to combat global warming, achieve energy self-sufficiency and, ultimately, lead the world in sustainable environmental management.

The actions in this plan represent the efforts of countless British Columbians across the public sector and in communities provincewide, and underlines the fact that we all have a role in – and share responsibility for – keeping our air and our environment clean.

  1. Drive less. If you can get by without a vehicle, great. If not, try carpooling, walking, cycling or taking transit a few days a week. Every little bit makes a difference – and we all have a role to play in cleaning up our air. Driving less saves money, too. And, if you walk or cycle, you’ll be healthier as well.
  2. Avoid idling. It wastes fuel, wastes money, stresses your engine and pollutes the air. Worst of all, it serves no purpose. In cold climates, a block heater is a more effective, efficient option for warming up your engine, and only needs to run for about two hours. Even without a block heater, modern vehicles only need a few minutes of run time – at most – to warm up.
  3. Get regular tune-ups. Vehicles that are properly serviced run more efficiently, waste less fuel and produce less air pollution. They’re also less likely to break down, and tend to last longer.
  4. Consider a cleaner vehicle. If you’re in the market for a vehicle, consider something fuel-efficient. A hybrid is an option if you’re buying new, but many later model, smaller vehicles are also environmentally friendly.
  5. Avoid using gas-powered tools, such as lawnmowers, leaf blowers and trimmers. Push mowers, electric mowers and even modern gaspowered models are better for our health, and our environment.
  6. If you use wood for fuel, use it wisely. The best option is to upgrade your stove to ensure you’re making use of the latest emission reduction technologies. But changes in the way you burn can also make a difference. For example, you can reduce air pollution significantly by always using dry wood, cutting it into small pieces, and keeping your stove and chimney clean and in good working order.
  7. Consider a switch. If you’re buying a new stove or heating appliance, consider one fuelled by propane, natural gas or pellets. These can all be cleaner alternatives to burning wood.
  8. Say no to backyard burning. Backyard burning was once considered an easy way to get rid of garbage. Today we know it’s a serious hazard that exposes families, neighbours, pets and whole communities to toxic fumes. Many areas have banned the practice, and even where it is allowed, a good rule of thumb is “Don’t burn unless you have to.”
  9. Get involved. Join or create a local air quality management group to work with your local government to improve air quality in your community.
  10. Plant a tree. Trees help to filter harmful pollutants from our air.

Consider choosing several of these actions to save money, save energy, safe fuel, avoid waste, reduce impact on our climate and improve your local air quality.

For example, if you avoid idling and using gas-powered tools, and if you plant one tree, you could keep over 10 kg of smog-causing pollutants out of the air. Or if you buy a new certified woodstove, get regular tune-ups and drive less, you could reduce air pollutants by almost 100 kg.