Air quality advisory issued for Vernon due to dusty skies

Dust advisory returns

It's spring in Vernon, and that means it's dust advisory season.

The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy and Interior Health have issued a road dust advisory due to high concentrations of coarse particulate matter.

Air conditions in Vernon as of 8 a.m. this morning were 54.9 micrograms per cubic metre.

The provincial air quality objective for PM10 particulate matter is 50 micrograms per cubic metre, averaged over 24 hours.

Vernon's air quality compares to a PM10 level of just 16.2 in Kelowna.

Conditions are expected to persist until there is precipitation, dust suppression or a change in traffic patterns.

The dusty air is caused by traffic stirring up winter traction materials on area roadways.

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.

Coarse particulate matter refers to airborne solid or liquid droplets with diameters between 2.5 and 10 micrometers. Together with fine particulate matter, the particles are referred to as PM10.

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 should watch for any change in symptoms that may be due to poor air quality exposure.

Keep windows and doors closed, and reduce indoor sources of pollution such as smoking, vacuuming and use of wood stoves.

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