By Joan Sorley
Recently, the Williams Lake Air Quality Roundtable members decided at their fall meeting to proceed with the mid-term review identified in the Williams Lake Airshed Management Plan.
The plan, issued in 2006, reviewed data from a period of three years and outlines steps to be taken in order to improve the quality of our airshed (defined as the air mass surrounding the City and nearby communities) over the next 10 years.
The plan contains goals that all of us can help achieve by thinking about our everyday activities as well as those which are clearly in the realm of government and industry.
The purpose of the review will be to determine if the activities outlined in the plan have been implemented over the past five years, if the objectives are being achieved, and if the plan is still relevant in today’s context.
Additionally, the review will set direction for the next five years.
Administration will be handled by Ministry of Environment management and staff.
The roundtable is chaired by Bert Groenenberg of the Williams Lake Environmental Society and is attended by representatives from the City of Williams Lake, Cariboo Regional District, Ministry of Environment and Interior Health as well as from industry. Members report, at twice-yearly meetings, on ongoing efforts to improve air quality, as well as on monitoring data.
Established in 1999, it was part of a larger commitment to address air pollution concerns related to the health of local residents by the provincial and federal governments, the City, Cariboo Regional District, and Cariboo Community Health Services (now Interior Health). Jointly, funding was provided to develop and implement airshed management plans, and to provide the necessary monitoring equipment.
A key factor influencing air quality in Williams Lake is fine particulate matter, which includes particles from both natural sources (such as pollen, dust from soil erosion, forest fires, etc.) and from man-made sources (such as home heating devices, road dust, automobiles, open burning, and industrial processes).
As a relative newcomer to the roundtable, I was most impressed by the dedication of all of the members present, and especially by the volunteer efforts of the industrial stakeholders at the table.
For more information on the roundtable, or to review the plan, visit www.breatheasywilliamslake.org.