The season of air pollution continues in Vernon.
The first dust advisory of the year was issued Feb. 15. And three days later it is continued.
The B.C. Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy, in collaboration with the Interior Health Authority, issued the advisory for Vernon because of high concentrations of coarse particulate matter that are expected to persist until there is precipitation, dust suppression or a change in traffic patterns.
As of Wednesday, levels in Vernon were 60.3. Compare that to neighbouring Kelowna, where levels were at 18.
By Friday, Kelowna levels crept up to 23.8 while Vernon rose to 65.7.
The provincial air quality objective for PM10 is 50 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m3), averaged over 24 hours.
“The current dusty conditions are caused by road traffic stirring up winter traction materials that have accumulated on roadways over the past winter,” the ministry said in a release.
“Levels tend to be highest around busy roads and industrial operations.”
This advisory is in effect until further notice.
Staying indoors helps to reduce particulate matter exposure.
Coarse particulate matter refers to airborne solid or liquid droplets with diameters between 2.5 and 10 micrometers (µm).
Together with fine particulate matter (airborne solid or liquid droplets with diameters of 2.5 µm or less), these particles are referred to as PM10.
Sources of PM10 contributing to this air quality episode include road dust from the emission of winter traction material along busy and dry road surfaces. PM10 can easily penetrate indoors because of their small size.