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Air quality improving, but advisory still in place

Last Updated Aug 24, 2018 at 1:20 pm PST


Cleaner air coming from the west, says Environment Canada meteorologist

It's easier to breathe out there, but if you have health conditions, you should still postpone strenuous activity

There's some greenery that can help with lingering bad air

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Many of us have been coughing and wheezing for days due to the poor air quality because of wildfire smoke.

And while an air quality advisory is still in effect, a rapid improvement is expected over the next 24 hours.

We might get a shower or two but the real help, in terms of clearing the smoke out, will come in the form of a burst of mostly cleaner air from the west, says meteorologist Matt MacDonald with Environment Canada.

“This low-hanging cloud will start to burn off,” says MacDonald. “We may see a few spits of drizzle. It’s going to be another cloudy day, very cool. And then as we head into the weekend, more grey cloud and the odd chance of showers.”

He adds we’ve already seen the quality get better yesterday and he expects further improvement today.

“This westerly flow is going to persist for the foreseeable future,” says MacDonald. “All through the remainder of next week, the wind’s going to keep blowing in off the ocean and that’s going to bring us much clearer air.”

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The one caveat is not all of that air will be cleaner, as we could still see some smoke from wildfires in Washington State and Vancouver Island blown our direction.

While it is easier to breathe out there now, experts still advise those with health conditions to hold off on strenuous activity until the air quality advisory is lifted.

Some greenery can help with any lingering bad air

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.”

The City of Vancouver is asking you to help the plants outside. The Park Board says trees are under stress right now due to the heat, smoke, and dry conditions. It’s asking people with garden hoses to get outside and water some of the trees to help them back into the rainy season.

Air quality hinders activities at care home

Seniors in at least one care home in the region may be getting back to their regular organized, outdoor activities today after interruptions by the smoky air.

Dave Semple, the Chair of the Board that operates The Maple Residences in Richmond, says staff have ended up cancelling some activities.

He adds staff have been checking seniors for ill-effects — and have been making decisions day-by-day.

“So we do that and make sure that they are prepared and understand what we’re going– and understanding also includes what does air quality mean? This has not happened here, ever.”

Semple says going forward, air quality is something they’ll have to consider.

“I think it’ll be the discussion for the fall and the discussion’s going to be way more about this thing, because if this is the new norm, this is not good.”

He’s optimistic scheduled outings in coming days will go ahead.