Abbotsford’s fire department will now be enforcing an open-air burning ban to help keep the air safe and breathable for B.C. residents with lungs at risk of COVID-19.
The municipality is following the March 26 joint announcement from the Ministry of Environment and provincial public health partners that B.C.-wide restrictions will be in place until April 15.
“Studies have shown air pollution increases susceptibility to respiratory viral infections (COVID -19) by decreasing immune function leading to more severe effects,” says a March 26 city press release. “These measures are being put in place to help reduce excessive air pollution in the high risk air-sheds across the province.”
Open-burning restrictions have been issued across B.C.’s high smoke sensitivity zones on the advice of the BC Centre for Disease Control.
“There is strong evidence that exposure to air pollution increases susceptibility to respiratory viral infections by decreasing immune function,” said Daniel Bings, with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “Evidence suggests that air pollution from combustion sources is most strongly associated with increased risk of viral infection, particularly vehicle emissions and biomass burning.”
– with files from Jennifer Smith
[CORRECTION: A previous version of this article stated city bylaw officers were enforcing the ban. In fact, the fire department is responsible for enforcement.]