Letters to the Editor

Dangerous smoke

Re: a recent story in The NEWS about the City of Parksville celebrating carbon neutrality.

Now what does that actually mean? It means nothing more than the City of Parksville corporate operations has achieved an arbitrary level of carbon neutrality, to be able to put a logo on city letterhead. Has it actually cut harmful greenhouse emissions in the city? The answer is no.

In fact, the City of Parksville is one of the biggest contributors to harmful greenhouse gas emissions on Vancouver Island. Why? Because wood and pellet burning as a heat source is allowed.

If any community wants to be truly carbon neutral and stay healthy, then they have to have a total  ban on  wood and pellet burning as a heat source.

There should be no grandfathering in the usage of existing stove installations. Make it an offence to burn wood or pellets in Parksville.

Environment Canada and Health Canada have identified just a few of the more hazardous chemical substances given off when burning wood, or pellets these are: carbon monoxide (CO),  carbon dioxide (CO2), oxides of nitrogen (NOx), hydrocarbons (HC), benzene, formaldehyde and dioxins and furans. All are carcinogenic.

The effects on human physiology and health of exposure to wood smoke have been extensively studied, and have shown  that prolonged inhalation of wood smoke contributes to chronic bronchitis, and other chronic diseases.

So is it safe to cozy up to that inviting hearth at your own little fireplace or wood stove at home? Not a good idea. And it’s even worse for the people who live downwind of you who get exposed. Even with a stove designed properly and a proper chimney (which most are not), you really have a lot of reason to be very concerned about residential wood smoke on your health.

The City of Montréal has adopted a bylaw banning the installation of wood-burning appliances in new or existing buildings. The City of Hamilton is following their lead.  So come on Parksville council, be a leader for once and join the cities of Montréal and Hamilton, and make all wood and pellet burning illegal, and make Parksville an even better healthier place to live, before we all choke to death on wood smoke.

Bob Budd

Parksville

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