Metro Vancouver air quality index
Credit: Jupiter Images

Metro Vancouver air quality index

We all know there’s a direct link between the air we breath and our health, but until now we’ve had no way of measuring that link. A program to measure the health quality of each community’s air has been developed over the past six years, and is now available in six Lower Mainland communities.

Metro Vancouver has provided local residents with an air quality index since 1985, but that index only told us how dirty the air is, not how it affects our health. The new index measures pollutants with a direct correlation to human health, including ozone, fine particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide.

The Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) is a federal government initiative, and has been developed in B.C. by the Ministry of Environment and local partners including Metro Vancouver, the Interior Health Authority and the BC Lung Association.

For the current AQHI reading in your community, visit www.aqhibc.org and select “All Communities AQHI.” (For an explanation of the measurement scale, click “About the AQHI.”)