The sunny weekend may have been nice, but with it came high concentrations of coarse particulate matter in the air.
A dust advisory has been issued for the Vernon area as airborne particles, referred to as PM10, reached 73.6 micrograms per cubic metre averaged over 24 hours.
The provincial air quality objective for PM10 is 50 micrograms per cubic metre. In comparison, Kelowna’s latest reading is 22.4.
The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy in collaboration with the Interior Health Authority issued a dust advisory Monday, March 7. It is in effect until further notice.
“High concentrations of coarse particulate matter that are expected to persist until there is precipitation, dust suppression or a change in traffic patterns,” the advisory reads.
“Levels tend to be highest around busy roads and industrial operations.”
The exposure is particularly a concern for individuals with chronic conditions such as asthma, COPD, heart disease, and diabetes; respiratory infections such as COVID-19, pregnant women, infants, and older adults. Persons with chronic underlying medical conditions or acute infections should postpone or reduce strenuous exercise until the advisory is lifted. Where appropriate, maintain physical distancing. Anyone experiencing symptoms such as continuing eye or throat irritation, chest discomfort, shortness of breath, cough or wheezing, should follow the advice of their health care provider.
Staying indoors helps to reduce particulate matter exposure.
“The current dusty conditions are caused by road traffic stirring up winter traction materials that have accumulated on roadways over the past winter,” the advisory reads.