Kamloops, B.C. Records Worst Air Quality In Its History

For Kamloops, B.C., the recent spate of raging wildfires nearby has created the worst recorded air quality conditions in the city’s history.

It saw an air quality health index of 49 on Thursday afternoon, according to CBC News. Anything over 10 is considered a very high health risk.

Global News reported that that number went down to 12 Thursday night, but it’s still an alarming concern.

“If you are doing something and you notice symptoms such as shortness of breath, or pain of some sort, then stop doing it,” Ralph Adams, a meteorologist for the province’s health ministry, told CFJC Today. “We have to listen to what our bodies are telling us under these sorts of conditions, even healthy people.”

Kamloops Lake

The concentration of fine particulate matter in the air is also more than double the level that triggered a 2015 “red alert” in China, a country known for high levels of air pollution.

Downtown Kamloops had a concentration of 684.5 micrograms per cubic metre between 2 and 3 p.m. In comparison, most areas in Metro Vancouver have seen 60 to 70 micrograms in recent days, said CBC News.

Air pollution levels have gotten so bad that aircraft can’t even land at the city’s airport.

People in Kamloops are being asked to stay indoors and reduce or avoid strenuous activities outdoors, regardless of whether they are prone to throat irritation and respiratory issues or not.

They should also not simply wear masks and go outside.

“Wearing masks may even worsen people’s subjective feeling of shortness of breath by having something covering their mouth,” Silvina Mema from the Interior Health Ministry told Global News.

Vancouver

Other areas are also recording poorer air quality levels, including parts of Metro Vancouver, Whistler, Okanagan, and the Fraser Valley.

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Author: Jessica Chin