Smoke from forest fires in British Columbia during August led to record levels of poor air quality since Fort Air Partnership (FAP), the organization that monitors the air people breathe in the local region, began reporting the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI).
The AQHI is a measure of air quality that people are exposed to and it is rated at a low, moderate, high or very high risk to health. Any rating over 10 is considered a very high risk to health, particularly for those with respiratory conditions, children and the elderly.
Locally, AQHI ratings were in the very high risk range on three separate days. August 18 was the worst, with very high risk ratings for seven to 10 hours at all local air monitoring stations. FAP’s Gibbons air monitoring station recorded the highest level, at 21. August 15 recorded up to 10 hours of very high risk at individual stations within FAP. August 22 also saw significantly elevated AQHI numbers due to smoke at many of FAP’s stations. The Elk Island station was the highest at 10.
Collectively, FAP’s 10 continuous air monitoring stations also reported exceedances over provincial objectives at record levels during August. For the 20 days from August 7, when smoke began to affect air quality in the local area, to August 26, there were 925 exceedances recorded by FAP in the Airshed. August 15 alone had 161 exceedances.
Almost all of these exceedances were caused by high levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5). PM2.5 is a respirable particulate that is less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter and small enough to penetrate deep into the lungs. From August 7-26, there were 109 twenty-four hour and 806 one hour exceedances of the provincial PM2.5 objective, nearly five times the previous high of 121 one hour exceedances recorded in 2016 caused by smoke from Fort McMurray and Northwest Territories fires that year.
The Road to Vision Zero
Vision Zero is the long term goal of obtaining zero traffic fatalities and serious injuries. The concept was founded in 1994 in Sweden. As a result of this long term strategy, Sweden has one of the world’s lowest traffic fatality rates.
Vision Zero guiding principles acknowledge that:
- We all make mistakes.
- No loss of life is acceptable.
- Traffic fatalities and serious injuries are preventable.
- We are physically vulnerable when involved in motor vehicle collisions.
- Eliminating fatalities and serious injuries is a shared responsibility between road users and engineers.
Vision Zero has been adopted by the City of Fort Saskatchewan, the City of Edmonton and Strathcona County. The goal is to get everyone home safe. No loss of life or serious injury collision is acceptable. Zero traffic fatalities. Zero serious injury collisions.
How we will get there?
Since Vision Zero is a long-term strategy, it means changes to traffic safety and infrastructure will take time. It begins with changing how we view traffic collisions. Together we can reach Vision Zero using the Safe System Approach, and the five E’s of traffic safety:
Vision Zero is a goal for everyone. What are you doing to make our roads safer?
Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association Celebrates 20 Years
AIHA members were joined by MLA Jessica Littlewood to celebrate the organization’s 20th anniversary.
With friends, stakeholders, and industry partners in attendance, Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association (AIHA) recently celebrated 20 years of municipal collaboration, investment and economic diversification in the Industrial Heartland.
AIHA board member representatives from the City of Fort Saskatchewan, Sturgeon County, Strathcona County, Lamont County and the City of Edmonton were joined by associate member representatives from the Towns of Redwater, Bruderheim and Gibbons to recognize this incredible achievement and toast to the next 20 years.
As we look back at our Association’s history, we reflect on all that the Association has achieved over those years. We are proud of the work we’ve done to attract investment, to drive energy diversification, and to promote innovative business solutions. Twenty years ago, the municipalities of the City of Fort Saskatchewan, Lamont County, Strathcona and Sturgeon Counties recognized the opportunity afforded them by their unique location in the province.
These visionary municipalities created a partnership dedicated to strengthening sustainable industrial development that benefits the residents and businesses in our municipalities. With the addition of the City of Edmonton in 2010 and three associate members – Bruderheim, Gibbons and Redwater in 2011 – AIHA continues to demonstrate the value of that cooperation. As a result, more than $40 billion in capital has been invested in the region, realizing significant returns to the economy of Alberta and to the communities in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland region.
We are a globally recognized brand and a passionate advocate for thoughtful, smart and meaningful policies to encourage investment in the region and in Canada. Thank you to everyone who joined us to celebrate this remarkable achievement! Learn more about AIHA and its members at IndustrialHeartland.com.