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Many municipal bylaws dealing with backyard burning are for fire protection, and often are not intended to protect air quality. Recently, though, several municipalities have passed bylaws that ban backyard burning, or only allow the burning of dry, garden refuse under strict rules and on certain days.
There are real health hazards that are caused by particulate matter that is created from open burning and these particulates also play a major role in accelerating global warming. With so many alternatives in this day and age to open burning, the Clean Air Society is against all open burning on the Sunshine Coast.
What we can do as citizens:Compost and mulch If you are in need of good soil prepare your own - the Sunshine Coast is a rocky place!
A good aged compost gives very healthy soil antagonistic to many soilborne pests and diseases. Your yard residue can be taken to composting facilities at the dump as well. There you can get composted material for your garden. Just grow rye or oats for few cycles and seasons and this compost will turn into proper soil.
B.C. is proud of its beautiful nature. There is no urgent need to get a groomed forest, spotless lawn, or immaculate garden. Great gardeners know how to use mother Nature's smart ideas and ecological mechanisms to make plants grow properly. Nature has no garbage, no waste and no leftovers.
Don't save money on the wrong end. Instead of burning the debris get tree-trimming services to chop or dispose.
Rent chipping machines
If it is costly ask in your neighbourhood for a 'joined chipping event'. Add some coffee and cookies and it becomes a party!
NOT - NEVER - NO
Don't burn any garbage or toxic materials like tires, plastics, construction and demolition waste, treated and painted wood, and rubber. You cannot see the toxins in the smoke, but they are there.
Prohibited burning materialsTo prevent the release of dangerous toxins, the following materials must not be burned:
- demolition waste
- domestic waste (household material and food waste not including newspaper and cardboard)
- special waste
- biomedical waste
- asphalt and asphalt products
- treated lumber
- railway ties
- paint and paint products
- tar paper
- fuel and lubricant containers.
Report a burnWhen the ventilation index for a given area has a rating of 54 or below, it is illegal to open burn anywhere on the Sunshine Coast. The Sunshine Coast falls under the Central Vancouver Island jurisdiction for the venting index. A burn also should be reported if prohibited materials are being burned (see prohibited material list above). If the burn you are reporting is a land clearing or commercial burn, contact the conservation officer and leave a message.
Gibsons: 604-885-6870 Halfmoon Bay: 604-885-5712
Madeira Park: 604-883-9011
Garden Bay: 604-883-9922|
Port Mellon: 604-884-5222|
Roberts Creek: 604-885-6871
For Sechelt residents, please contact the by-law officer:
You can also utilize our Neighbourly Notification Program. See below:
Neighbourly Notification ProgramIt's not always easy to approach a neighbour whose burning habits are causing you difficulties. Maybe you have already approached the neighbour and have been dismissed or treated with disrespect. This purpose of the Neighbourly Notification Program is first, to target directly the producer of smoke with educational materials and advice to make them aware that such actions are affecting their neighbours and community. Second, to remove the burden of direct complaint from the individual(s) affected by the burning. These complaints might include; back yard burns, use of a burn barrel, construction burns, slash burns, and excessive chimney smoke.
What can we do?
We have drafted a series of form letters that will be sent out by the SCCAS advising the people responsible for the smoke that neighbours have asked the SCCAS to send this letter to inform the person about the consequences of their burning methods. The letter will also include greener and healthier alternatives to the burning methods they are using, educational information about the health hazards, and links and contacts where they can access more information.
Your personal information will not be released. Just send us an e mail to email@example.com included your neighbour's address, including postal code and name, if possible. Tell us what type of burning is causing the issue and we will send a letter to them within 2 days.
From our blog
- No Incineration Campaign on the Sunshine Coast
- Air pollution ‘still harming Europeans’ health’
- Clean Air Society August 2013 Newsletter
- 10 Easy Steps for Clean Air Day
- April Newsletter and update
- Clean Air - Smells Good to Me
- So Easy to Compost
- Sechelt Bylaw to Phase in Banning of Open Air Burning
- May 23rd: SCCAS presentation to the new Sechelt Council advocating a ban on developers’ burns
- Open Burning video about Alberni Valley, Vancouver Island
- Incineration of Garbage and Other Wastes
- Working with the District of Sechelt toban land clearing burns by developers
- ‘Black carbon’ key to tackling climate threat: UN report
- Clean Air Society Involved in Effort to Ban Developers’ Burns
- Burning Construction and Demolition Waste at HSPP - Green Energy? by SCCAS member Louis Legal
- April 15th marks the start of Clean Air Season!
- Removing one ton of black carbon will have the same effect as removing 2,000 to 3,000 tons of CO2
- Progress and more progress for the SCCAS
- Howe Sound Pulp and Paper Mill is burning plastic
- Drop in U.S. air pollution linked to longer lifespans
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Other resources on this topic
News on this topic from around North America
- Smog Clouds Shanghai’s Drive to Become Global Financial Center
Mon, 29 Sep 2014 15:00:00 -0700 Shanghai is cracking down on polluters with the introduction of stricter fines to combat the hazardous smog levels that are testing its drive to become a global financial center. The penalties are designed to address the growing problem of deteriorating air quality in China's second-most populous city. "High-end financial talent usually has a high work intensity combined with greater mobility ...
- County burn ban ending Sept. 30
Mon, 29 Sep 2014 09:31:43 -0700 Due to the increase in fuel moisture levels, the Island County Sheriff’s Office will lift the ban on outdoor burning at 8 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 30.
- Briefly: September 26, 2014
Sat, 27 Sep 2014 08:56:01 -0700 Ministry lifts open fire ban With the coast’s first fall storm, the ban on all open fires set in July has been lifted around the Powell River area.
- Burn ban called off for Island County
Sat, 27 Sep 2014 03:15:03 -0700 Island County Sheriff Mark Brown provided yet another sign that summer is over this week.
- Whatcom County outdoor burn ban to be lifted Saturday
Thu, 25 Sep 2014 12:46:27 -0700 The Whatcom County Fire Marshal’s Office will lift the ban on outdoor burning effective 8 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 27, for unincorporated areas of the county.
- State forestry officials: Fire season just around the corner
Mon, 22 Sep 2014 21:42:26 -0700 As summer drifts into fall and homeowners start raking up leaves to burn, state forestry officials in Chattanooga’s tri-state region are reminding people that they’ll need a burn permit starting in October and continuing through next spring.
- County to allow open burning in areas with reduced wildfire risk
Wed, 17 Sep 2014 01:21:41 -0700 Pinal County Air Quality will resume issuing open burning permits in portions of Pinal County on September 15, 2014. The ban originally went into effect in late April to mitigate the risk of wildfire
- BC looking into possibility of bringing campfire bans back in
Tue, 16 Sep 2014 12:01:00 -0700 Campfires are allowed across BC right now, but many areas of the province have either high or extreme danger ratings.
- Ravalli County to lift open burn ban Thursday
Mon, 15 Sep 2014 19:57:21 -0700 Ravalli County commissioners voted to lift the open-burn ban effective at midnight September 18.
- Missoula, MT | Continuous News and Weather
Mon, 15 Sep 2014 18:49:09 -0700 HAMILTON- With conditions improving after recent colder weather and rain, Ravalli County commissioners are deciding to go ahead and lift the ban on open burning.
- Travis County lifts burn ban
Mon, 15 Sep 2014 16:09:59 -0700 The Travis County Fire Marshal's Office has lifted the burn ban for Travis County that was scheduled to end on October 8th due to recent rainfall and the decrease in the risk of wildfire.
- Ravalli County to lift open burn ban Sept. 18th
Mon, 15 Sep 2014 09:28:03 -0700 Ravalli county commissioners voted to lift the open-burn ban effective at midnight September 18.