VICTORIA - In celebration of Clean Air Day, the B.C. government is renewing its commitment to fund successful air quality programs, protecting the health of British Columbians, local communities and the environment.
The BC Lung Association has been awarded $200,000 to continue the popular Wood Stove Exchange Program. Since 2008, the B.C. government has partnered with the BC Lung Association to encourage British Columbians to replace their old wood stoves for new low-emission appliances. To date, the Province has put $2.28 million towards the program, successfully replacing nearly 6,000 wood stoves.
The Province is also boosting its efforts to raise awareness about climate change by awarding $100,000 to the Hub for Action on School Transportation Emissions (HASTe). An online resource and networking program, HASTe helps students, teachers, schools and communities take action to reduce school transportation emissions for the coming year.
An additional $100,000 is being awarded to the BC Clean Air Research Fund (BC CLEAR), providing research grants to academic institutions, government organizations, First Nations and consulting organizations in support of strategic air quality and health research. The findings from BC CLEAR have been instrumental in shaping air quality policies throughout the province.
For example, one recent BC CLEAR research project helped to develop the Western Canada BlueSky Wildfire Smoke Forecasting System which has now extended its forecast range to Eastern Canada. People can visit BlueSky to see hourly forecasts of smoke from wildfires for Western Canada at: www.bcairquality.ca/bluesky
Clean Air Day has been celebrated since 1992 and recognizes the Province’s efforts towards improving air quality throughout British Columbia.
Mary Polak, Minister of Environment -
“Clean Air Day serves as a reminder to B.C. families, government and industry that we all must do our part to ensure we have the best air quality possible in our communities. Through this funding, we are continuing our leadership in climate action and providing programs with a positive effect on both the health of British Columbians and the environment.”
Scott McDonald, CEO, BC Lung Association -
“The BC Lung Association has a long ongoing partnership with government. We are very supportive of the air quality programs implemented by the Ministry of Environment. Air pollution, whether caused by vehicle idling or old wood stoves, is harmful to individual health, the environment and the prosperity of our beautiful province.”
- The Wood Stove Exchange Program has reduced particulate matter emissions by over 300 tonnes per year benefitting air quality in the 27 communities that have participated.
- Since 2008, the ministry has provided approximately $614,000 to HASTe working with over 60 schools to adopt the School Travel Planning which promotes walking, cycling and other environmentally friendly modes of travel to and from school.
- The ministry has provided $900,000 to BC CLEAR since the fund was created in 2008.
- BlueSky was launched as a pilot project during the summer of 2010 and produced daily forecasts for B.C. and Alberta. The BlueSky team of experts includes the B.C. Ministry of Environment, Alberta Department of Environmental and Sustainable Resource Development, Natural Resources Canada, Parks Canada, Environment Canada and the University of British Columbia.
- Last year, the Eastern Canada BlueSky Wildfire Smoke Forecasting System was created to provide national coverage.
Learn more about the Provincial Wood Stove Exchange Program at: http://www.bcairquality.ca/topics/wood-stove-exchange-program/
Learn more about HASTe at: http://www.bcairquality.ca/topics/idling/idle-reduction-haste.html
Learn more about the BC CLEAR Fund at: http://www.bcairquality.ca/plans/air-research-funding.html
Learn more about the Western Canada BlueSky Wildfire Smoke Forecasting System: http://www.bcairquality.ca/bluesky/west/
Ministry of Environment