UPDATE Friday, March 5:
An air quality advisory has continued for a third day in a row in Vernon.
Road dust is the cause of the advisory, which was initially issued March 3 and extended again on March 5.
Particulate matter (PM) concentrations reached 85.8 (as of 10 a.m. Friday). Kelowna is also close to an air quality advisory, as it has reached 45.4. The provincial air quality objective for PM10 is 50 micrograms per cubic metre averaged over 24 hours.
UPDATE Thursday, March 4:
Even more dust has been stirred up in Vernon. Which means yesterday’s air quality advisory is continuing.
Particulate matter concentrations have now reached 82.6 in Vernon, up from the 54.9 reported March 3. That’s compared to Kelowna’s 35.3, which also increased from 16.2 yesterday.
ORIGINAL Wednesday, March 3:
The dust being stirred up on Vernon streets has once again prompted an air quality notice.
The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy and Interior Health have issued a road dust advisory for Vernon due to high concentrations of coarse particulate matter (PM10).
The advisory is expected to stick around until the next rainfall, or until sufficient road sweeping work is done.
Dust levels tend to be highest around busy roads and industrial operations.
“Exposure is a concern for pregnant women, infants and older adults, as well as, individuals with conditions such as asthma, COPD, heart disease, diabetes or respiratory infections such as COVID-19,” a ministry press release states.
People with chronic underlying medical conditions or acute infections should postpone or reduce strenuous activities until the advisory is lifted.
Sources of PM10 contributing to this air quality episode include road dust from winter traction material along busy and dry road surfaces. PM10 can easily penetrate indoors because of their small size.
The provincial air quality objective for PM10 is 50 micrograms per cubic metre, averaged over 24 hours. The 24-hour average PM10 concentration in Vernon as of 8 a.m. today (March 3) is 54.9, compared to Kelowna’s current PM10 of 16.2.
The advisory is in effect until further notice.