Support the ban on wood smoke

Letter by Cathy Baiton, printed in The Windsor Star (  Letters – October 25, 2011

Re: Cheers to the Brandies, by John McCrossan, Sept. 30.

I share John McCrossan’s support for the Brandies’ well-deserved victory, following their long battle over unacceptable neighbourhood wood smoke pollution. Breathing clean, wood-smoke-free air in and around one’s own home should be a basic right.

Although the wood-burning industry continues to market its products to people who live in cities and towns, even new wood-burning appliances are simply not a good choice in residential areas.

Most Canadian communities now have zero tolerance for cigarette smoke in public buildings but why do so many maintain a double standard regarding equally harmful wood smoke in neighbourhoods?

As a clean air advocate, I have received recent emails asking if I know of any communities that have restricted or banned wood burning.  I think this reflects the increased value now being placed on clean air, which is essential for supporting both health and quality of life in neighbourhoods.

Some places have already created bylaws to protect citizens. Hampstead, Que., for example, forbids installation of new wood-burning appliances, and requires that existing ones be removed by November 2015.

Hopefully, the Brandies’ successful case will encourage Amherstburg officials to create the strongest wood smoke bylaw/ban possible – to benefit its residents, and to help set a positive example that may encourage other communities to uphold the importance of clean, healthy air for all.

Image source:  British Columbia Wood Smoke | Facebook, 2013

Image source: British Columbia Wood Smoke | Facebook, November 2013