Air Quality Management
Taking action to reduce air pollution will help improve human health, reach air quality targets, preserve the environment and enhance our economic advantage.
Understanding the source, location and types of emissions in an area is valuable and allows communities to develop targeted actions that can improve air quality in a region. For example, for regions with high particulate matter emissions in the winter, open burning and woodstove emissions could be targeted for reduction, thereby improving local air quality. Air Quality Management is a collaborative effort been multiple stakeholders in a community. Information from data assessment, emissions inventory, and modelling results are often used to build a plan of action to reduce priority contaminants in a region.
An "airshed" or "air basin" is an area in which the terrain and weather conditions hinder the movement of pollutants away from the area. A mountain valley is a common example of an airshed in British Columbia. Many B.C. communities have periods of unacceptable air quality, with adverse effects on human health, the environment and visibility.
Modelling is used to identify sources that contribute to poor air quality and to project air quality changes for different "what if" scenarios. There are hundreds of different kinds of models used for air quality management.
National Air Quality Management System
The Province is also part of the Air Quality Management System (AQMS) which is a federal program to improve air quality. Through the AQMS the Province breaks the province into air zones and assesses air quality be assigning colour codes to evaluate the actions each air zone should take to improve air quality. This system allows resources and actions to target “red” zones for improved air quality.
The Province has developed an Air Quality Regulatory Framework which is a series of regulations, codes and acts that set standards for air quality emissions from business and industry in British Columbia.