For Immediate Release
June 3, 2012
Ministry of Environment
British Columbians breathing easier without their old wood stoves
VICTORIA – As Canadian Environment Week kicks off today, more than 5,000 wood-burning stoves have been replaced by cleaner burning models since the Province’s successful provincial Wood Stove Exchange Program began five years ago. This equates to a reduction of more than 310 tonnes of particulate matter pumped into the air.
“British Columbians are the real heroes when it comes to taking responsibility for protecting the air we breathe,” said Environment Minister Terry Lake. “The success of this wood stove program is all about communities working together to exchange old wood stoves for cleaner alternatives and protecting the environment we value so strongly in this province.”
New high-efficiency wood stoves are proven to burn one-third less wood, reduce emissions by up to 70 per cent and significantly reduce the risk of chimney fires. The approximately 116,000 older model stoves currently in use around the province can affect the health of homeowners, their neighbours and overall airshed health.
In 2008 the province of B.C. began the Provincial Wood Stove Exchange Program designed to work at the community level through grants provided by the provincial government and matched by community organizations and local governments. Today, more than 44 municipalities and 18 regional districts have partnered with the provincial government to offer incentives and wood-burning education to their community members.
Quick Facts/What You Can Do:
· Since 2007, 31 new or updated bylaws for residential wood combustion have been enacted, representing an increase in the number of bylaws by 74 per cent.
· Almost 40 per cent of B.C.’s population is now covered in some way by residential wood-burning appliance bylaws.
· Avoid using gas-powered tools such as lawnmowers, leaf blowers and trimmers. Push mowers, electric mowers and even modern gas-powered models are better for our health, and our environment.
· If you use wood for fuel, use it wisely. The best option is to upgrade your stove to ensure you’re making use of the latest emission reduction technologies. For example, you can reduce air pollution significantly by always using dry wood, cutting it into small pieces and keeping your stove and chimney clean and in good working order.
Find out more about the Provincial Wood Stove Exchange Program, smoke management in the province and current air quality conditions across the province at www.BCAirQuality.ca .
The BC Lung Association provides additional information on the health effects associated with poor air quality, visit http://www.bc.lung.ca/airquality/airquality.html
Ministry of Environment
Connect with the Province of B.C. at www.gov.bc.ca/connect