Will Lethbridge’s Open Burning Bylaw review bring stronger clean air protection?

On August 20, 2012, Lethbridge City Council voted to investigate the possibility of restricting outdoor burning to cleaner fuels only, such as natural gas or propane. As a mother and clean air supporter, I was really impressed with this progressive concern for protecting clean air, which is so essential for better community health. Hopefully the bylaw review that was originally planned for April 29, 2013 will not be delayed again.  If the review takes place this month, it will have already been almost a full year’s wait.  Meanwhile, people remain unprotected from needless wood fire pit smoke, while local stores continue to sell wood burning fire pits. A “Roast” printed in yesterday’s Lethbridge Herald typifies the kind of unreasoning, selfish stance that seems common among recreational urban wood burners:

“To all those whining about outdoor fire pits. If you don’t like it, go inside your house and close all your windows, or move somewhere else!”

By its hesitancy to act on the issue since last August, city administration would almost appear to concur with these suggestions. Recently published findings show that  air pollution is an even more serious problem than previously thought, and that even low-level exposures can be harmful. http://www.climatecentral.org/news/europe-must-tackle-air-pollution-warn-u.n.-scientists-16211

How can any thinking person with a social conscience not agree that no one should be unwillingly exposed to toxic smoke – smoke that is completely avoidable, if only residents and public officials make responsible and compassionate choices? A newborn should not have to breathe unnecessary wood smoke. Neither should an active youth. Nor should someone’s grandparent – or anyone who wants to stay healthy by breathing healthy air.

At the bylaw review this month, I hope our local officials will show they care about the environment and the well-being of residents, by standing up for the right of every citizen to breathe air that is clean, healthy, and wood smoke-free.

Sleeping newborn infant.  Photo by By Andrés Nieto Porras. Image source: Wikimedia Commons http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sleeping_newborn_infant.jpg

Sleeping newborn infant. Photo by Andrés Nieto Porras. Image source: Wikimedia Commons