LETTER – Kamloops is a magnet for air pollution, and there are no ‘safe’ levels

Downtown Kamloops — an apocalyptic feel you could cut with a knife. (Image: Mel Rothenburger.)

Like many of us for the past number of weeks I have been sitting in a semi-dark home waiting for the temperature to drop and the sky to clear. Outside has an apocalyptic feel that can literally be cut with a knife.

I’ve also taken a renewed interest in air quality. Until recently it was just a number the media reported from time-to-time.

Not now! Nowadays each morning I Google ”BC Air Quality – Province of British Columbia” and click on “Interactive Map”. It shows the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) for selected locations throughout the Province. The AQHI is Canadian made and provides a number from 1 to 10+ to indicate the level of health risk associated with local air quality. Besides the number, there is a colour code.

All the provinces and territories have adopted the AQHI.

The a.m. ritual has been an eye opener. Morning after morning Kamloops has had the worst AQHI in the Province! Usually +10. Even Williams Lake that has a fire knocking on the front door is lower.

Yet we have been warned by “Kamloops Physicians for a Healthy Environment Society”
( and others that Kamloops is a cesspool when it comes to air quality.

The “Physicians” have been trying to get us to understand at our topography is a magnet for air pollution.

We can’t do anything about the wildfires. But we can agree w/the “Physicians” who say allowing another contaminator into the valley can only make matters worse. There are no “safe” levels of air pollution.


About Mel Rothenburger (9358 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

8 Comments on LETTER – Kamloops is a magnet for air pollution, and there are no ‘safe’ levels

  1. Intelligent read with legitimate concerns backed by easy to access factual data. I Googled the Kamloops AQHI as the author did and yesterday it was a 10+ and this morning its an 8; highest in the province both days and a disturbing trend for the region. Discussions on geography, air quality, and health concerns resulting from industry and pollution are beyond reasonable and critically prudent to say the least. Reactionary dichotomies such a ‘no pollution, no jobs’ or ‘industry vs. nay sayers’ are not particularity beneficial to understanding the legitimate long term consequences or benefits of industry and community. Less rhetoric and more science would add plenty to the discussion.

  2. Wow, what a lot of ranting while most of us haven’t yet had the first cup of tea.

  3. Wendy Petit // August 8, 2017 at 9:23 AM // Reply

    What Kamloops Physicians? There are barely any left. Our children are also having to leave Kamloops and quite often the Province to find full time work.

  4. Interesting way of getting one’s point across in regards to the proposed Ajax mine. While you are at it, also take a look at the air pollution caused by Domtar and New Gold. (with New Gold, in the Cherry Creek area). Going down Summit around the switch back and towards the Overlander Bridge, one can certainly smell the odors coming from the Domtar Mill. Don’t hear too many screams of anguish about that one. Wonder why that is?

    • Lookout the window, we are once again the only location in the Province with a +10 AQHI reading.

      It shouldn’t come, as a surprise doctors aren’t interested in living in a Community with foul air! They know what it does to us. It’s not going to get any better if we let more contaminators into the Community.

      As to those who point fingers at other polluters, as my mother use to say, “two wrongs don’t make a right”.

  5. Wow! Good job, how to get the ‘nay sayers’ back on the band wagon! Take note that there are no AQHI numbers in this article! This fire has created the worst we will see, ever, unless Kamloops buildings are on fire! Did NewGold have to jump through all the same hoops? Speaking of the ‘magnet’ that mine has just as big of threat for dust in Kamloops? Where was the soap box then? KGHM, being a foreign company, was just unaware that in this is country they are expected to pay to do business here? Some countries actually make tax exemptions for businesses that are coming in to boost the economy! With all the studies and reports and regulations and and and …..

  6. Julia Jones // August 8, 2017 at 4:55 AM // Reply

    So let’s alll ride our bicycles to work at the Timmy’s.
    Or the newspaper office.
    No jobs, no pollution.

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