COVID-19: Open Burning Restrictions Issued for Salt Spring Island - March 26th, 2020 - 2:02 PM

Open Burning Restrictions Issued for Salt Spring Island and All High Smoke Sensitivity Zones in British Columbia - As cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in BC continue to increase, the BC Centre for Dis- ease Control recommends implementing measures that help to reduce excess air pollution in populated airsheds across the province. There is strong evidence that exposure to air pollu- tion increases susceptibility to respiratory viral infections by decreasing immune function. This means that:

    • Deterioration in air quality may lead to more COVID-19 infections overall
    • Deterioration in air quality may lead to more cases of severe COVID-19 infections, adding further demand to our healthcare system, and
    • Improvements to air quality may help to protect the whole population from COVID-19 and its potentially severe effects.

Evidence suggests that air pollution from combustion sources is most strongly associated with increased risk of viral infection, particularly vehicle emissions and biomass burning. At this time the BC Centre for Disease Control strongly recommends that open burning of biomass fuels be restricted in areas with high or moderate risk of population exposure to the resulting smoke. While the focus should remain on social distancing to prevent the spread of infection and re- duce the number of cases, keeping our air as clean as possible will also help to protect the population during this difficult period. For this reason The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy is restricting open burning in some parts of the province. These restrictions will be evaluated on a daily basis; the area to which they apply may grow or diminish accordingly.

Mandatory Emission Reduction Actions:

  • Pursuant to Section 29(1)(a) of the Open Burning Smoke Control Regulation, the following Sections of the Open Burning Smoke Control Regulation are hereby substituted:
  • Section 19(b)(ii): “The forecast obtained under subparagraph (i) (A) or (B) is “good” for the day the open burning starts;”
  • Is replaced with: “The forecast obtained under subparagraph (i) (A) or (B) is “good” for the day the open burning starts, except for areas which are High Smoke Sensitivity Zone areas identified in yellow in Figure 1, where open burning is prohibited until 9:00 AM local time Wednesday April 15th, 2020.”
  • Section 20(b)(ii): “The forecast obtained under subparagraph (i) (A) or (B) is “good” for the day the open burning starts;”
  • Is replaced with “The forecast obtained under subparagraph (i) (A) or (B) is “good” for the day the open burning starts, except for areas identified in yellow in Figure 1, where open burning is prohibited until 9:00 AM local time Wednesday April 15th, 2020.”
  • Pursuant to Section 29(1)(b) of the Open Burning Smoke Control Regulation, these sub- stitutions are effective until 9:00 AM local timeWednesday April 15th, 2020.

Daniel P. Bings
For Director, Environmental Management Act Compliance

Figure 1: Location of areas where open burning restrictions are in effect.

Salt Spring News

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March 26, 2020 2:03 PM

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