UPDATED: Quesnel’s air quality advisory lifted

Concentrations of fine particulate matter have returned to normal

Updated March 6 at 9:25 a.m.:

The air quality advisory for Quesnel has been lifted.

“Fine particulate levels have returned to normal and are expected to remain low due to changing weather conditions over the next days,” according to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.

The average fine particular matter (PM2.5) concentration in Quesnel over the last 24 hours is down to 21.7 micrograms per cubic metre, which is below the provincial acceptable limit of 25. When the advisory was issued yesterday, the concentration in Quesnel was 26.8.

According to the provincial government’s website, PM2.5 is particulate matter that measures 2.5 microns and less, and the source is combustion of fossil fuels and wood (motor vehicles, woodstoves and fireplaces), industrial activity, garbage incineration and agricultural burning.

Original story:

An air quality advisory has been issued for Quesnel.

The Ministry of Environment, in collaboration with Northern Health, has issued an air quality advisory for Quesnel and says high concentrations of fine particulate matter are expected to persist until weather conditions change this evening or tomorrow.

This advisory remains in effect until further notice.

“Exposure to fine particulate matter is of particular concern for infants, the elderly and those who have diabetes, and lung or heart disease,” according to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “Persons with chronic underlying medical conditions should postpone strenuous exercise until the advisory is lifted. If you are experiencing symptoms such as continuing eye or throat irritation, chest discomfort, shortness of breath, cough or wheezing, follow the advice of your health care provider. Staying indoors helps to reduce exposure to fine particulate matter.”

According to the ministry, fine particulate matter (PM2.5 ) concentrations are likely to remain elevated until weather conditions change. The highest concentrations will occur during the evening and early morning hours.

The Provincial Ambient Air Quality Objective (or provincial acceptable limit) for PM2.5 is 25 micrograms per cubic metre, averaged over 24 hours. As of 11 a.m. Tuesday, March 5, the 24-hour average PM2.5 concentrations for Quesnel is 26.8 micrograms per cubic metre. The average in Prince George is 25.6, while Williams Lake’s average is 13.1.

Real-time air quality observations and information regarding the health effects of air pollution can be found at bcairquality.ca.

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