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Prince George air is getting better to breathe: report

Countless air and dust advisories have come and gone in the Prince George area, but according to a community organization, the overall air quality has been getting better to breathe.

The Prince George Air Improvement Roundtable (PGAIR) has released it’s final report for Phase Three of it’s five-year development plan, claiming a 40% decline in fine particulate matter from 2011 to 2016.

According to PGAIR’s report, local industrial sources have been contributing through technological advancements in the Northeast sector, through dust management strategies enacted between the City and the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George, as well as a downward trend in average concentrations within the community itself.

“We’ve definitely seen a reduction in the average and daily concentrations,” explains PGAIR Manager Kim Menounos.

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“That means our worse air quality days aren’t as bad as they used to be, but we do still have an issue and we continue to try to make progress on reducing dust. Conditions right now are perfect for dust to be an issue as they often are in the Spring.”

She explains the difference between air qualities in winter and in the summer.

“We will always have these inversion events in our winters because of the shape of our city; it traps pollutants in the bowl and creates air quality advisories. Summer-time, on the other hand, we have wildfire events and we don’t have a lot of control over that.”

“I’m pleased to see the continued success resulting from the work of PGAIR and it’s partners,” says Dr. Andrew Gray, Medical Officer with Northern Health.

“these improvements to air quality should positively impact the health of everyone in our community.

Moving forward, PGAIR says their primary focus will be to reduce particulate matter emissions to ensure long-term sustainability in the Northern capital, as well as a thorough look at other pollutants in the area, posing as a threat to the health of local residents.

The organization explains air pollution can lead to risks of cardiovascular disease, other illnesses, and death.

For a link to the full Phase Three report, you can click here.

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