Municipalities have responsibility to control smoke

Re: City’s air not so great, Letters Oct. 1.

To the Editor,

Re: City’s air not so great, Letters Oct. 1.

Gregory Roscow writes about “Harmac’s smelly pollution” and seems to think that Nanaimoites “get more upset about woodstoves than about Harmac”.

Two years ago the federal government announced, that Nanaimo Forest Products/Harmac Pacific had been granted almost $27 million through the Pulp and Paper Green Transformation Program, so one would expect that best practices are being utilized in its operations.

Regarding woodstoves, until very recently, local politicians have paid little attention to the burning practices of those residing in densely populated residential neighbourhoods.

It appears that there has been a lack of public awareness, that residential wood smoke emissions are comprised of 100 different toxic substances, including fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and carbon monoxide.

In long-established neighbourhoods, some residents are on the receiving end of residential smouldering smoke and accompanying odour, yet the city has prohibited the emission of offensive smoke and ash from outdoor residential burning.

Apparently, professionals who work with residential wood burning appliances are certified by the Wood Energy Technicians of B.C., but what about the operators of the appliances?

It would seem that local politicians, who do not support the use of pesticides for cosmetic purposes, are not aware that in 2001 the Supreme Court of Canada determined that a municipality has the right and responsibility to enact bylaws to promote the health of its residents.

The court judgment is not restricted to pesticides. Burning in an irresponsible manner is not a sacred right.

Janet Irvine

Nanaimo