VICTORIA - In celebration of Clean Air day, industry-led investments to improve air quality and better air quality monitoring systems are taking centre stage, announced Environment Minister Terry Lake.
"B.C. families want clean air, and industry recognizes that they have to do their part to protect the environment. The new air quality monitoring technology we're announcing today will help both industry and government to target our emissions reduction programs to improve environmental outcomes for British Columbians."
This year, the Province will invest $100,000 in 12 new state-of-the-art FEM (Federal Equivalent Method) air monitors, adding to the existing 22 already installed throughout the province. The new monitors have greater sensitivity and provide a more precise measure of fine particulate matter than older monitors used since the 1990s. Fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) has been the number-one outdoor air quality priority in B.C. for the last decade.
The Province's investment is in addition to industry leadership focused on reducing emissions and improving air quality. Examples include industry leaders like Canfor Pulp Limited Partnership and Port Metro Vancouver.
One of the largest ports in North America, Port Metro Vancouver (PMV) is leading the way for other ports to address air quality and climate change. PMV became the first port in Canada and third in the world to install shore power for cruise ships, allowing ships to shut down their diesel engines and connect to a land-based electrical grid while docked at Canada Place. During the 2011 cruise season, 35 ships connected to the Port's shore power facilities, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 1,318 tonnes.
"The cruise business not only contributes $2 million to our local economy for every cruise call, but continues to make great strides to reduce air emissions," said Duncan Wilson, vice-president corporate social responsibility, Port Metro Vancouver. "This year, more than a third of all cruise calls in Vancouver will be shore-power enabled. On Clean Air Day, I am pleased to celebrate the port and the cruise industry's ongoing commitment to cleaner air."
In 2008, Port Metro Vancouver also introduced increasingly stringent environmental requirements into the Container Truck Licensing Program (TLS). Requirements focus on the phasing out of older trucks, mandatory opacity testing and idling limits, and an awareness program. Consistent with the Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy, by 2017, the requirements will bring the fleet up to the equivalent of a 2007 truck for particulate matter emissions.
The Province is doing the same as PMV in the Lower Mainland and in other parts of British Columbia where it will focus on non-point-source emitters like heavy-duty diesel engines, both on-road and off-road.
In Prince George, more than $220 million has been invested by industry to improve air quality between 2007 and 2012. Canfor Pulp Limited Partnership (CPLP) is one example of industry leading the improvements. In 2011, in addition to federal money totalling $122.5 million, CPLP invested more than $60 million in upgrades to three of its mills that resulted in reduced emissions, reduction in odours and improvements to air quality in the region.
Industry and other local partner investments have paid off. In 2011, the annual average for PM2.5 in downtown Prince George measured 5.1 ug/m3. This was the lowest annual average for particulate ever measured at the station in the last 14 years.
For more information on programs dedicated to improving air quality, please see information below.
B.C. programs dedicated to air quality enhancements:
- More than 5,000 wood-burning stoves have been replaced by cleaner burning models with the Province's successful Wood Stove Exchange Program.
- The Provincial Idle Reduction Initiative has resulted in increased public awareness of unnecessary vehicle idling through signs, public outreach campaigns, an online pledge and the web-based Hub for Active School Travel.
- More than 350 school buses have been retrofitted in B.C. with filters to remove fine particulates.
- 30,000 older vehicles have been taken off the road by Scrap-it BC.
- 8,400 small businesses have participated in LiveSmart BC 's energy-efficiency programs.
- More than 100,000 daily riders on the new Canada Line.
Port Metro Vancouver: www.portmetrovancouver.com/en/environment.aspx
Canfor Pulp Limited Partnership: www.canforpulp.com/greentransformation/
BC Air Quality reports: www.bcairquality.ca/
BlueSky Smoke Forecasting: www.bcairquality.ca/bluesky/
Ministry of Environment