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Did you know “communities in the Cowichan region are among the 20 worst in the province for air pollution levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5),” according to the BC Lung Association’s 2016 state of the air report?
The PlanH program has recognized the efforts of a dedicated group working to address the complex issues of air quality in the region by awarding a grant of $15,000 to the Cowichan Valley Regional District on behalf of partnering organizations in the community. The Healthy Communities Capacity Building Fund grant will be used to support learning, building partnerships, and taking actions to enhance air quality for our health, our environment and our communities. PlanH is a partnership between BC Healthy Communities Society and Healthy Families BC.
“Air quality is a problem that involves many players and has broad impacts across vulnerable groups in the Cowichan. Grant money from PlanH will help the region develop a deeper understanding of the problems and work together to explore community change for an issue that has deep roots in our history and culture,” says Board Chair Jon Lefebure.
In the Cowichan region air quality is often good through the summer but can be poor during the winter because of fine particulate matter primarily from open burning and woodstove use. Individuals can lower their exposure to air pollution by making informed decisions in their daily lives.
Smoke and burning, however, knows no bounds. Local governments and partnering organizations are well positioned to support healthy communities through initiatives such as Cowichan's Regional Airshed Protection Strategy; forming a collaborative roundtable; and exploring alternatives to older wood burning appliances and open burning.
For more information on the air quality problem, airshed protection, current conditions and best practices, please visit: www.cvrd.bc.ca/air.