An air quality advisory has been issued in Fraser Valley, and the eastern regions of the Lower Mainland. The advisory, which was issued Wednesday and remains in effect throughout the weekend, is warning the public about possible exposure to pollutants in the atmosphere.
According to the Vancouver Sun, the advisory is not related to the smoke from wildfires that continue to burn across the province. The air quality is affected by high levels of ground-level ozone which, according to the Government of Canada, is a "colorless and highly irritating gas."
Here are the areas affected by the air quality advisory:
- Port Coquitlam
- Maple Ridge
- Pitt Meadows
- Fraser Valley Regional District
Ozone is known to have "significant effects on human health" their website says. Exposure has been linked to pre-mature mortality, hospital admissions and asthma symptoms. It also has a significant impact on crops, vegetation, flowers and forestry.
Ground-level ozone forms as a result of two pollutants reacting in the sunlight and in stagnant air. The Government of Canada states that 95 percent of these pollutants come from human activity, like burning gasoline and oil in cars, homes, and power plants.
According to Abbotsford News, the advisory urges the public to "avoid strenuous outdoor activities during mid-afternoon to early evenings," which is when the ozone levels are at their peak. Combined with the extreme summer heat, the public is encouraged to stay in air conditioned indoor spaces as much as possible.
Infants, the elderly, and those with medical conditions face the highest risk of negative symptoms from ozone exposure, such as "chest discomfort, shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing."