A dust advisory has been issued in Vernon March 9, 2021. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)

A dust advisory has been issued in Vernon March 9, 2021. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)

Dust advisory returns in Vernon

Vernon’s air quality has once again exceeded the provincial target for particulate matter

Another dust advisory has been issued for the Vernon area.

The ministry of environment and Interior Health has issued a road dust advisory because of high concentrations of coarse particulate matter that are expected to persist until there is precipitation, dust suppression or a change in traffic patterns.

Levels tend to be highest around busy roads and industrial operations.

Street sweeping crews could be seen cleaning Highway 97 between Vernon and Lake Country Tuesday morning.

The advisory is in effect until further notice.

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.

People with chronic underlying conditions should postpone or reduce strenuous exercise until the advisory is lifted.

The provincial air quality objective for particulate matter (PM10), is 50 micrograms per cubic metre, averaged over 24 hours. As of March 9, Vernon currently sits at 51; Kelowna’s PM10 is currently 24.6.

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

To reduce your personal health risk, the ministry offers the following tips:

  • Avoid roads with heavy vehicle traffic.
  • Continue to manage medical conditions such as asthma, chronic respiratory disease and heart failure. If symptoms continue to be bothersome, seek medical attention.
  • Use common sense regarding outdoor physical activity; if your breathing becomes difficult or uncomfortable, stop or reduce the activity.
  • People with heart or respiratory conditions (including COVID-19) should watch for any change in symptoms that may be due to poor air quality exposure. If any symptoms are noted, affected individuals should take steps to reduce their exposure to poor air quality. If symptoms continue to be bothersome, seek medical attention.
  • Keep windows and doors closed, and reduce indoor sources of pollution such as smoking, vacuuming and use of wood stoves. When indoors, ensure physical distancing guidelines for COVID-19 are observed.
  • Run an air cleaner. Some room air cleaners, such as HEPA filters, can help reduce indoor concentrations of particulate matter provided the filters are the right size for your home and are kept clean.

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Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
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