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Dust worsens in Vernon, extending air quality advisory

Dust advisories are frequent in Vernon
A dust advisory has been extended in Vernon Wednesday, March 8, 2023. (Morning Star - file photo)

Air quality due to dust in Vernon has worsened in the past 24 hours, leading to an extension of a dust advisory.

The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, in collaboration with Interior Health, issued a dust advisory for Vernon on Tuesday, March 7. On Wednesday, they announced the advisory will remain in effect due to high concentrations of coarse particular 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,” the advisory states.

Vernon’s dust concentration is 72.4 PM10 (particles 10 micrometres or smaller in diameter), up from 67.2 yesterday. Meanwhile, Kelowna’s is 29.6, Castlegar’s is 22.9 and Golden is 57.9.

The provincial air quality objective is 50 PM10.

Exposure is especially a concern for people with chronic conditions such as asthma, COPD, heart disease and diabetes. Respiratory infections such as COVID-19, pregnant women, infants and older adults are also at a higher risk. People with chronic underlying medical conditions or acute infections are advised to postpone or reduce strenuous exercise until the advisory is lifted.

Anyone experiencing symptoms such as continuing eye or throat irritation, chest discomfort, shortness of breath, cough or wheezing, should follow the advice of their health care provider. Staying indoors helps to reduce particulate matter exposure.

“Sources of PM10 contributing to this air quality episode include road dust from the emission of winter traction material along busy and dry road surfaces,” the advisory states.

The advisories are frequent in Vernon, which has had PM10 levels three times higher than neighbouring Kelowna.

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Brendan Shykora
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Brendan Shykora

About the Author: Brendan Shykora

I started as a carrier at the age of 8. In 2019 graduated from the Master of Journalism program at Carleton University.
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