METRO VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – You may have noticed the air is a little clearer around parts of the Lower Mainland.
An air quality advisory for Metro Vancouver and parts of the Fraser Valley have now been lifted. Changing weather conditions are to thank for pushing marine air into the region, improving air quality.
“It started coming in yesterday but did not provide, sort of, full relief from the high particulate levels until mid-day today,” Francis Ries, senior project engineer in Metro Vancouver’s air quality and climate change division says. “At this point, in a lot of parts of the region, we have now returned to levels that would be much more normal for summer. We hope that those levels will be maintained throughout the weekend.”
He adds cooler temperatures and even possible rain are in the forecast for this weekend. “So we’re hopeful that we will maintain the clear air that we have now.”
The Eastern part of the Fraser Valley — areas around Agassiz and Hope — will remain under advisory because of high concentrations of particulate matter due to wildfires smoke.
He says it’s unclear when the advisory for this area will be lifted.
While the advisory has been lifted for parts of the region, Ries warns wildfires are still burning across the province, and smoke could impact air quality again.
“As we go into the week next week there is always the possibility that should weather conditions change, we may see smoke coming back.”
With that in mind, he adds smoke can still be variable in some areas, and may not have completely cleared out everywhere.
“It might be wise for people who are vulnerable to still take some precautions today,” he says.
Air Quality Advisory lifted for #MetroVancouver & central #FraserValley. Advisory for fine particulate matter remains in place for eastern @FVRD1 including Agassiz & Hope. Cooler marine air has entered the region, reducing PM levels. img credit @CODMeteorology pic.twitter.com/KWNzEc5xT9
— Metro Vancouver (@MetroVancouver) August 24, 2018
Greenery and air quality
If you’re one of the many still dealing with the haze and smoke, it turns out there are a couple of plants that can help you with the coughing and tickle in your throat due to the poor air quality.
Bob Tuckey is the assistant manager at Hunters Garden Centre in Kitsilano. He suggests a plant called Chinese Evergreen.
“Another really good plant for cleaning the air is the Peace Lily. They’re perfect for dorm rooms and basement suites, and also if you forget to water it, which everyone does at one point or another, it gets all droopy and you just give it a good watering and it perks right back up again.”
He says he’s received a number of requests lately for these kinds of plants. The requests actually first started trickling in a few years ago, he says, when NASA was looking into which plants would best clean the air in the space station.
So what makes these plants better at cleaning the air than others? Tuckey says their broad leaves give them more of a surface area to absorb particles in the air.