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LETTER – Person promoting fines and education for woodsmoke infractions fails to address health concerns

Dear editor,

Re: Education, fines would help air quality more than a ban on new woodstoves (March 17 Letter).

The author makes no mention of the health of residents where wood smoke is so pronounced as it is in our Comox Valley. In arguing ‘is this ban on new woodstoves a knee-jerk reaction to bad air quality that hasn’t been thought through properly,” health is not mentioned.

Perhaps the writer is not aware of all the work and data collected by Breathe Clean Air Comox Valley (breathecleanair.ca), in the past four years, which has helped educate us about the health impact of wood smoke. He implies there was “no public consultation and debate on these sweeping new restrictive bans,” ignoring the impact of education and the increased awareness of health impacts of smoke on our community.

Politicians, and the voters who elect them, do not act in a vacuum; they acted out of an educated recognition of the immediate and positive impact of reduced wood smoke on our local communities.

Several studies have shown dramatically this impact. Councils brought in these bylaws, because they were receptive to the overwhelming health impacts wood smoke causes, including “shorter life, stroke, heart disease, asthma, lung cancer, reduced lung functions and low birth weight” ( Source: woodsmokepollution.org).

We do not live in a perfect world.

Our politicians must make decisions that have the greatest impact on the greatest percentage of the population, particularly when it comes to impacts on our health. Our world, the world of all of us who breathe, requires us all to be cognizant of the immediate health results, which are devastating and directly connected to the emitting of wood smoke.

This is especially true when it comes to the most vulnerable, including our children and our seniors.

Thank you to our Comox, Cumberland and Courtenay mayors and councils for recognizing this immediate need to stop our air from getting worse. And for thinking about the health of us all, who are strongly impacted by wood smoke… whether we see it or not.

Steve Faraher-Amidon,

Comox

air qualityLetter to the Editor