Air quality in the Town of Golden is monitored by the BC Ministry of Environment. The monitoring station is located beside the Golden Hospital. The monitoring station is identified on the Ministry web site as “Golden Helipad”.
The readings give us a measure of the “ambient” particulate matter. Ambient means the “surrounding area or environment” and so the measures tell us about the general air quality. The station cannot measure the worst areas of town where pollutants may accumulate at higher concentrations.
Follow the link below for real-time particulate readings over the past five days.
What is Air Quality?
When we talk about air quality we are referring to the state of the air all around us and mainly in our local environment. As we all know, clean, unpolluted air is extremely important for human health as well as the health of wildlife, plants, water and soil.
It is also important to the overall quality of life in our communities. In Golden we live with breathtaking beauty all around us. Poor air quality can affect visibility, impeding the views of the landscape and the aesthetics of our community valued so highly by residents and visitors alike.
Poor air quality can result from a variety of sources, local weather conditions and topography.
Large forest fires can cause widespread air pollution. Often air pollution in the town is a cumulative effect of several human activities such as driving vehicles and burning wood.
We can all have an influence on air quality through the choices we make and the actions we take. We would like to encourage everyone to do what they can to help make Golden’s air quality the best it can be throughout the year!
What do the values for PM10 and PM2.5 Represent?
Particulate matter (PM) in air quality science refers to tiny solid or liquid particles that are suspended in air. Particulate matter is produced from a wide variety of sources — natural and human-caused, large and small. It is comprised of directly emitted particles, and secondary particles formed in the atmosphere through interactions of emitted pollutants such as sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, ammonia, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Wood and fossil-fuel burning are two of the primary anthropogenic or human-caused sources. Particulate matter that is 10 microns (µm) (micrometres) in diameter or less is called PM10 , or ‘coarse particulate’. Of major concern are particles that are 2.5 microns or smaller in diameter (PM2.5 or ‘fine particulate’) because they can lodge deep in the lungs, and cause respiratory and cardiac problems.
To protect the health of our communities provincial objectives have been set for maximum particulate matter in air.
- For PM10 the objective is to keep it below 50 µg/m3 averaged over a 24 hour period.
- For PM2.5 the objective is to keep it below 25 µg/m3 averaged over a 24 hour period.
A complete list of BC provincial air quality objectives can be found here: http://www.bcairquality.ca/reports/pdfs/aqotable.pdf
Why is there no Air Quality Health Index for Golden?
Several communities in British Columbia report an Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) to provide information on health risks associated with degraded air quality at any given time. Air pollutants such as sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, ozone and particulates are used in combination to determine the AQHI rating. Only particulates are being measured in Golden at this time, so it is not possible to report a rating on the AQHI. However, particulates are one of the most important contributors to poor air quality. In future, it is hoped that monitoring for other air pollutants will be possible in Golden.
If you have concerns about diesel emissions in Golden, for example, please contact the Golden and District Air Quality Committee.