‘Don’t Be Mean, Burn Clean’ Urges PG Air
Prince George, B.C. – The Prince George Air Improvement Roundtable has released its latest video warning about the effects of open burning on air emissions.
Entitled ‘Don’t Be Mean, Burn Clean,’ it’s the fourth in a series of videos put together by local video production company 6IX Sigma Productions Ltd.
The timing of the video is meant to coincide with a time of year when residents like to clean up their gardens, shrubs and tree debris before winter sets in.
“Burning the debris is an outdated practice, and goes against the City of Prince George’s Clean Air Bylaw,” said Theresa Fresco of the Fraser Basin Council. “And for some it can be a respiratory irritant, leading to a worsening of some health symptoms.”
Fresco said there are alternatives to open burning including disposing of yard debris for free at transfer stations around the city, and composting, which she noted produces an excellent garden fertilizer or mulch.
According to Andrea Bryne, an environmental assistant with the City of Prince George, the fine for breaking the Clean Air Bylaw is $300 and said the video serves as an important reminder for residents.
“Typically people forget and they think wood is wood but under the bylaw seasoned fire wood is all that’s allowed to be burned within city limits.”
Marcel Profeit, the chief fire prevention officer with Prince George Fire Rescue, said responding to open burning complaints is also a drain on their resources.
“If somebody’s burning something they’re not supposed to, we will send an engine company – non-emergency – to go investigate,” he said.
“And depending on what’s burning, how much of a fuel is burning, how big and all that, we can be tied up anywhere from a half an hour to three hours if it’s a big brush pile. And that’s taking a quarter of our resources to respond during that time.”
Northern Health said some of the short-term health effects of open burning are breathing problems, an increase in the occurrence of asthma attacks and heart attacks.
Some of the long-term effects include bronchitis, emphysema, pneumonia, cancer and death.