In January of 2015, Shaw TV in Nanaimo produced the following show about wood smoke pollution on Gabriola Island. It features two of Gabriola Island Clean Air Society founders: David Boehm and Michael Mehta.
After 14 years of fighting air pollution locally generated by neighbours from their wood stoves, fire pits, fireplaces, and open burning, we have sold and moved away from our community on Gabriola Island, British Columbia. It was the most difficult decision of our lives, and a seemingly impossible one. Choosing between your health and home isn’t fair. After writing dozens of letters to various levels of government on this issue, presenting to councils, setting up a pollution monitoring network using PurpleAir technology, presenting academic work at conferences, being interviewed more than 50 times by media on the topic, working with a group of wonderful, like-minded people to create a non-profit called the Gabriola Island Clean Air Society, and joining the Board of an international group called Doctors and Scientists Against Wood Smoke Pollution, I am exhausted. We lost many friends over this battle, incurred significant financial costs, were taunted and shunned, attacked merci
If you burn wood to heat your home, you may not realize how many trees are consumed every year by this choice. It's often difficult to see this since most of us have wood delivered in trucks loaded with smaller and sometimes split pieces. On Gabriola Island, our consumption of wood is the equivalent of 545 logging trucks/year of trees, and this consumes 55 Ha (136 acres) of mature forest every year. Much of this wood is imported from woodlots on Vancouver Island. If parked end-to-end, these 545 trucks (21.5m in length) would be 11.75 km long - almost the length of the island. Here's the math and the hyperlinked references to support these calculations. Forests in B.C. are relatively productive compared to other parts of the world. A Ha of mature forest yields on average 400 cubic meters of wood. Not all of this wood can be used as firewood but we'll use this number since data on actual amounts of usable wood are difficult to come by. A lower number of usable quantities m
In August of 2016, the Gabriola Island Clear Air Society brought online the first PurpleAir sensor network in Canada. Our sensor network has documented extensively the staggering amount of air pollution coming from wood stoves and fireplaces on our tiny island. As the number of PurpleAir sensors expanded across the province and elsewhere in Canada, many began to raise questions about the accuracy of these low-cost devices. There have been several studies to-date that all show the same thing: these devices work, are accurate, reliable, and fill in gaps in air quality monitoring. The newest study from Australia by Dr. Dorothy Robinson provides definitive evidence that should quash any concerns about using PurpleAir sensors. See the study here . Gabriola Island Clean Air Society director Dr. Michael Mehta has the following to say about this study. This paper provides empirical evidence to show that the use of low-cost PM2.5 monitors for measuring air quality on a distributed basis has me