City of Vernon begins tracking local air quality with six new sensors – Okanagan

Between the intense smoke from the wildfires and the challenges of spring dust, Vernon, BC has experienced periods of very poor air quality.



Now, the municipality is embarking on monitoring local air quality conditions.



Earlier this month, the city of Vernon installed six new air quality monitoring sensors in city neighborhoods.

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“Everywhere, from the Foothills to the Landing to the North End, we can get a feel for the air quality anytime,” said Chris Ovens, the city’s general manager of public works.

While other air quality monitoring is done locally, the new sensors installed in the municipality are believed to be the first time the municipality has collected its own air quality data.

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“I am happy and proud that Vernon is doing this. It’s actually very gradual and I think it’s a step in the right direction, ”said Michael Mehta, a professor at Thompson Rivers University who studies air quality.

Mehta applauded the new sensors. He believes they will help the municipality make more informed decisions.

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“If you want to make a decision… about a community development, a project, a road, highways, anything, you need this basic information at the local level,” Mehta said.

“It is not enough to be able to rely only on data that could be collected at the provincial level, it could be taken from a fairly distant air sensor. “

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However, Mehta argued that the data should be made public in real time, which the city says it does not yet have the capacity to do.

“The platform is just a website with a secure connection for City of Vernon staff. We’re just going to assess that and see if at some point we’re going to make it available to the public, ”Ovens said.

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A preview of what the sensors have gathered is expected to come out in the spring when staff brief city council on the matter.


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