Air Quality in Fraser Valley
Fraser Valley Regional District is located in the Lower Fraser Valley airshed. It is surrounded by mountain ranges, combined with prevailing wind and weather patterns that can detain and even stop a spread of pollutants in the eastern portion of the valley. Look at the picture below.
Good air quality is an air that is unpolluted and clean. Planes, vehicles, wildfires, local manufacturing, and industrial activities are all reasons for polluted air. As the air becomes more polluted, people start suffering from various diseases. Polluted air also affects soil fertility and nature in general.
The most common pollutants found in the Fraser Valley include:
1. Fine Particulate Matter (PM)
Sources: fireplaces and woodstoves, forest fires, vehicle exhaust, road dust, industry.
2. Ground-level Ozone (O3)
Sources: burning fossil fuels (gas, oil, coal) for industry and transportation.
3. Nitrogen Oxides (NOX)
Sources: fossil fuels, forest fires, incineration, metal production.
4. Sulphur Dioxide (SO2)
Sources: steel mills, diesel vehicles, coal-fired power plants, volcanoes, aircrafts.
5. Carbon Monoxide (CO)
Sources: house fires, faulty furnaces, heaters, wood-burning stoves, cars, propane-fueled equipment, gasoline-powered tools.
6. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
Sources: gasoline, paint, hair spray, kerosene.
Air Quality Monitoring
Air quality monitoring is carried out at special stations that are equipped with particular instrumentation and equipment to measure air pollutants. The pollutants that usually are monitored can include such kinds of particulate matter (PM2.5, PM10), ozone (O3), sulfur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide (CO), ammonia (NH3), nitrogen oxides (NOX) and others without excluding volatile organic compounds.
In general, there are six monitoring stations in the Fraser Valley Regional District area (Abbotsford (2), Agassiz, Chilliwack, Hope and Mission). The map below shows the current air quality and air quality health index.
Here is a detailed and articulated figure that shows the air quality health index in Central Fraser Valley. The current AQHI is 2 (Low Health Risk). In case the AQHI index has increased to 7 (high health risk), it is usually because of high concentrations of smoke particles (PM2.5) in this community.