Last year forest fires caused air quality warnings over Langley and the rest of Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. (Langley Advance Times files)

Our View: Breathing easier in Langley’s future

Metro Vancouver says the air quality will improve over the next 20 years

Some good news from Metro Vancouver this week – our air quality is going to keep getting better.

The Clean Air Report for 2019 says smog-forming emissions will decline by about 10 per cent from 2015 to 2035, despite the fact that more people are moving here, and most of those people still drive cars.

The reductions come from more fuel-efficient vehicles, cleaner-burning fuels, and projects to try to wean Metro residents off wood-burning fireplaces.

The biggest change will come from car use.

Make no mistake, we’re still producing a lot of smog with our vehicles. In 2015, during the last emissions inventory, it was found that personal vehicles in the region created 4.7 million tonnes of greenhouse gases and 16,000 tonnes of smog-forming pollutants a year.

But greenhouse gas emissions from cars are expected to decline by a full 35 per cent, and smog forming pollutants will be slashed by 70 per cent by 2035.

That’s despite estimates that more vehicles will be on the roads.

Government emission standards are expected to keep tightening for the foreseeable future, and car manufacturers will squeeze more performance from fewer burning hydrocarbons.

While the Clean Air Plan is concerned with climate change, it is also about health and welfare of local residents.

We’re lucky already to live in an area with offshore breezes and lots of trees – but we can also find ourselves penned in between mountains, with the air turning stagnant and smoggy, particularly the farther up the valley you live. Cleaner air is always welcome in this community.

–M.C.

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