James Bay residents want more done to improve air quality

While emissions from cruise ships have been reduced over the past year, more still needs to be done to improve air quality in James Bay.

While emissions from cruise ships have been reduced over the past year, more still needs to be done to improve air quality in James Bay, according to the local neighbourhood association.

According to a report released by the Ministry of Environment, sulphur dioxide emissions have decreased in 2015 compared to the previous year.

Through a regional air quality monitoring station at Topaz Avenue and Erie Street, set up in 2006 and 2009 respectively, meteorologists looked at sulphur dioxide levels when cruise ships were in port versus when they were not in port.

In James Bay with no cruise ships, meteorologists recorded 34 micrograms per cubic metre of sulphur dioxide in the community (other modes of transportation such as trucks, the MV Coho and ferries emit sulphur dioxide as well) and 40 micrograms per cubic metre at the station on Topaz Avenue.

In 2009, there were 120 hours during the cruise ship season when sulphur dioxide levels exceeded the baseline of 34 micrograms per cubic metre recorded at the Erie Street station. However that number was significantly reduced to seven hours in 2015. There was also a similar trend at the Topaz station as well.

“Hourly or daily objectives haven’t been exceeded and the World Health Organizations objectives were not exceeded for the 10 minute levels and the daily levels. That’s really good news,” said Earle Plain, air quality meteorologist with the Ministry of Envrionment. “We’ve seen a positive trend and last year we complied with all the air quality objectives of the World Health Organization and the province.”

According to the report, the reduction in emissions is due to a shift to cleaner fuel or the installation of scrubbing technology on cruise ships that use sea water to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions.

The call to reduce emissions originally came in 2006 after the James Bay Neighourhood Association reached out to the Vancouver Island Health Authority over health concerns. Shortly after, the ministry partnered with the Greater Victoria Harbour Authorit, Island Health, the neighbourhood association and researchers at the University of Victoria to monitor sulphur dioxide emissions.

The neighbourhood association said the recently released results are good, but not new.

“It does show what we knew, which is the sulphur dioxide issue is almost resolved. But that is not the total emissions issue,” said president Marg Gardiner.

“People still see black smoke. But beyond that, every once in a while people are engulfed with some emissions . . . We don’t know the health impacts of those emissions or if there are any or not.”

Gardiner hopes the harbour authority will work to reduce all emissions from float planes, helicopters, buses and cruise ships, which may prove more difficult since the technology to monitor and measure those emissions are not as advanced, she noted.

Sonterra Ross, chief operating officer with the harbour authority, said it has worked to reduce the amount of emissions in the area recently. This year, the harbour authority implemented a fee to incentivize the use of new technologies, primarily in buses. The harbour authority promotes walking off the terminal and using rickshaws or pedicabs to get to downtown Victoria as well, Ross added.

Plain said they will continue to monitor air quality levels at both stations and noted the levels should continue to decrease or remain the same as more companies move to newer technologies.

For more information about hourly air quality readings in James Bay visit bcairquality.ca.

 

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Johnathan Lee Robichaud pleaded guilty to eight charges including sex-related offences against children and accessing, possessing and making or publishing child pornography. (Courtesy of Saanich Police)
Sentencing date moved for Saanich nanny guilty of child porn charges

Johnathon Lee Robichaud pleaded guilty to eight sex offences against children

(Google Maps)
Sophisticated glass-removal crime returns to downtown Victoria

Several businesses on Fort Street targeted overnight, say police

Patrick MacMullan won $28,000 playing Toto. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Greater Victoria man wins $28,000 while watching football

Winning ticket purchased at Colwood convenience store

Victoria police are seeking public assistance in identifying a suspect and witness of a Dec. 4 sexual assault in Esquimalt. (Black Press Media file photo)
Police seeking suspect, witness of sexual assault of Esquimalt teen

Teen sexually assaulted Dec. 4 after departing number 15 bus

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the press theatre at the B.C. legislature for an update on COVID-19, Jan. 7, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread steady with 509 new cases Friday

Hospitalized and critical care cases decline, nine deaths

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government reinforces importance of anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Black Press media file
Port McNeill driver tells police he thought the pandemic meant no breathalyzers

Suspect facing criminal charges after breathalyzer readings in excess of 3.5 times the legal limit

A northern resident killer whale shows injuries sustained by a collision with a vessel in B.C. waters. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Coast Guard ramps up protections for B.C. whales

First-ever Marine Mammal Desk will enhance cetacean reporting and enforcement

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Most Read