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"PGAIR is committed to researching, monitoring, recommending and implementing air quality improvements and promoting public awareness and education in the Prince George airshed, with the goal of improving the air quality in the community."

 

The Challenge

Prince George faces serious, longstanding air quality problems. These are linked primarily to topography, emissions from transportation, industry, road dust, burning of wood for home heating and recreational use, and natural background sources. Air quality improvements over the past 20 years are encouraging, and work is underway to further reduce harmful emissions across all sectors and protect the health of residents. Air quality is a complex and multi-jurisdictional issue that requires collaboration among many different agencies. That’s where PGAIR comes in.

The Society

PGAIR is a multi-stakeholder, community based, non-profit society that includes representatives from the general public, business, industry, community groups, government, UNBC, and Northern Health. The group was originally formed in 1998 as the Prince George Air Implementation Committee, following the completion of the Prince George Air Quality Management Plan - Phase One [2007], developed jointly by the City of Prince George, the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George, UNBC, Northern Health and the Ministry of Environment. PGAIR became a non-profit society in August 2008 and is committed to researching, monitoring, recommending and implementing air quality improvements and to promoting public awareness and education in the Prince George airshed, with the goal of improving the air quality in the community.

Society & Membership

The Prince George Air Improvement Roundtable [PGAIR] membership and directors include representatives from government, industry, First Nations, community groups, the general public, Northern Health and the University of Northern BC.

 

The Plan

Phase One of the Plan identified measures to improve air quality in the Prince George airshed, in particular to achieve acceptable levels of fine particulate matter known as PM10. It contained 28 recommendations for actions to reduce and manage pollutant sources, including:

Achievements
Many of the original 28 recommendations have been completed while the remainder are still being implemented (See Phase One Progress Report). Significant achievements of PGAIR since its inception include:

More Work to be Done
Phase One of the Air Quality Management Plan achieved results in a number of areas. However, despite significant measures being taken, levels of the most critical pollutant, PM2.5, have not dropped in the downtown area. That tells us that, in order to run an effective air quality improvement program, better information is needed on exactly where the pollutants are coming from.

A Plan of Action: Phase Two
During Phase Two, the Research Working Group of PGAIR is conducting research (the Source Apportionment Study, the Speciation Study, and the Dust Characterization Study) to:

Meanwhile, as research continues, there are a number of actions that will be taken to improve air quality or prevent further deterioration. They are included as recommendations in Phase Two of the Plan. Some major recommendations include:

Once the Source Modeling Study and other research is completed, PGAIR can move forward with air quality improvement plans based on sound research.

P.G. Phase Two Management Actions

 

Building on Success: Phase Three

Under the Phase III Implementation Plan, PGAIR has developed numerous strategies to improve air quality within the airshed.  The goal is to build on the success of Phase I and Phase II and create a long-term strategy for continuing to work among multiple agencies to advance air quality collaboration and improvements.  The strategies focus on seven key areas:

The strategies are intended to be implemented over a five year period (2011 – 2016). However, some of the strategies are longer-term and may extend beyond 2016.PGAIR’s key role is in the multi-stakeholder development of strategies, which are then communicated to others as needed. In cases where PGAIR is not the lead, its role is to promote, encourage, and follow-up with strategy leads who are members of PGAIR or who are not members of PGAIR, as the case may be.  To help foster this collaborative plan, three new committees were created to address specific strategies within the Implementation Plan: Education and Awareness Working Group, Research Working Group, and the Monitoring Working Group; which include members of PGAIR and other stakeholders. 

 

Air Quality Management Plan

The fundamental motivation for creating the Prince George Air Quality Management Plan in 1998 was increasing evidence that poor air quality was negatively affecting the health and quality of life of residents.

Prince George Air Quality Management Plan - Phase One (1998)
Phase One of the Plan identifies measures to improve air quality in the Prince George Airshed, in particular to achieve acceptable levels of fine particulate matter. It contains 28 recommendations for actions to reduce and manage pollutant sources, including industrial emissions, road dust, and residential sources such as open burning and woodstoves. The Plan also addresses land use planning issues, poor air quality episode management, and the monitoring and research required to measure progress and to identify future management needs.

Prince George Air Quality Management Plan - Phase One Progress Report (2004)
The Progress Report of the Air Quality Management Plan was prepared by the Prince George Air Quality Implementation Committee in 2004. It was based on input and information gathered during the previous five years. The Progress Report identifies the Phase One recommendations that had been completed to that date, as well as further work that needed to be done. It also provides a review of air quality trends and other monitoring results available at the time.

Prince George Air Quality Management Plan - Phase Two (2006)
Phase Two of the Plan brings forward recommendations that have been identified as ongoing in the Phase One Progress Report, as well as a number of new recommendations that have been identified. During Phase Two, the Research Working Group of PGAIR is also conducting research (the Source Apportionment Study, Speciation Study, and the Airshed Boundary Study). Once the research is completed, PGAIR can move forward with air quality improvement plans that are based on sound research and that accurately target pollutant sources within the Prince George airshed.

Prince George Air Quality Management Plan - Phase Three (2011)

Under the Phase III Implementation Plan, PGAIR has developed numerous strategies to improve air quality within the airshed.The strategies are intended to be implemented over a five year period (2011 – 2016). However, some of the strategies are longer-term and may extend beyond 2016. Strategies cannot all be implemented by PGAIR itself: some strategies would be communicated to the relevant member organization that would become the lead for a particular strategy, or to a relevant lead that is external to the PGAIR membership.

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