The updated WHO Global Air Quality Guidelines (AQGs) provide recommendations on air quality guideline levels as well as interim targets for six key air pollutants. They also offer qualitative statements on good practices for the management of certain types of particulate matter (PM). Based on the extensive scientific evidence currently available, the guidelines identify the levels of air quality necessary to protect public health worldwide. The AQGs also serve as a reference for assessing if, and by how much, the exposure of a population exceeds levels at which it might cause health concerns.
UNBC Researchers Dr. Peter Jackson and Brayden Nilson have used an emission inventory and meteorological data from 2014 - 2016 to update the previous (2005) micro-emission inventory and modelling system for the Prince George airshed. The work focuses on respirable particulate matter including PM10, PM2.5, and particulates that form through secondary processes from sulphur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen. Particulate matter is an important contaminant in the Prince George airshed given its known impacts on health.
In the Phase III Implementation Plan, PGAIR outlined several goals for PM2.5 reductions by 2013 and 2016. Monitoring data from 1998-2016 at the Plaza 400 monitoring site (located in downtown Prince George) were analyzed to identify trends in ambient levels of PM2.5 and determine whether these goals were met. This report discusses the results of that analysis.
Levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) have improved over the past 15 years due to management actions, but in recent years have been significantly impacted by hot weather and more active wildfire seasons. Odour levels in the community (indicated by total reduced sulphur -TRS) have improved greatly since the 1960's, but have shown a slight increase in recent years. While TRS is considered a nuisance pollutant at these levels, it has an offensive odour that is annoying to residents and impacts community image.
This short report provides an update on improving particulate matter levels in the airshed since the 1990's. The key to improvement has been more effective management at the source, in particular, the phase-out of all beehive burners, increased removal of fine particulate matter from multiple industrial partners, decreased open burning, use of coarser traction material on streets in winter and improved street cleaning practices.
In 2011-2012, the Ministry of Environment worked in collaboration with city residents to collect ambient air samples within an odour-affected neighbourhood, and analyzed the samples for 194 volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The report from this Sampling Program provides a summary of VOCs that were measured in the outdoor air and provides recommendations for next steps.
Prince George’s airshed has been identified as not being able to accept additional air emissions without compromising the health of its citizens; securing safe and economically viable industrial sites that will not negatively impact the air shed is therefore important in the city's efforts to diversify its economy without negatively affecting its citizens. In 2008 a steering committee was formed to develop an Industrial Profile of the region, with the intent of helping to direct industry to the most suitable lands.
Other Studies for the Prince George Airshed
The Ministry of Environment in collaboration with Prince George residents conducts special studies of some pollutants (e.g. formaldehyde, volatile organic compounds), in addition to their routine monitoring program for the airshed. The results of these additional monitoring studies can be found here.
PGAIR Pollutant Briefing Notes
These short Briefing Notes provide a snapshot of particulate matter (PM) in the Prince George Airshed. They can be found here.
Prince George Air Quality Improvement Briefing Notes
Each member of PGAIR has been requested to provide an annual update on air quality improvement activities, and particularly implementation activities related to the PGAIR Phase III Plan. Collectively these Briefing Notes help identify and share progress towards achieving community air quality goals for PM2.5 reduction: By 2016, A 40% reduction in PM2.5 from all significant sources; A daily average not to exceed 25 micrograms per cubic meter of air; and An annual average of 5 micrograms per cubic meter of air.
Industrial Sector Members
CN Rail 2014
Commercial Sector Members
Governmental Sector Members
Community Group and Individual Members
People's Action Committee for Healthy Air - PACHA (Member representing an Environmental Society) 2017
Non-Member/Volunteer Briefing Notes
Matthew Beckett - Bike Commuting Champion 2016
Brink Forest Products 2014
The Beckett Family - Electric Vehicle Conversion 2012
Vic Steblin - A resident's approach to improving air quality 2012