Home Health Hazards A Breath of Fresh Air Canadian Cases Other Cases Smoke Stories Photos
Watch Dog Pamphlet BioMass Info Links Data
A FATHER'S ANGUISH! DOES ANYBODY CARE? Did you know that in Canada it is 'LEGAL' to poison your neighbour daily with wood smoke! The following story is true and takes place within METRO VANCOUVER but the names have being left out to protect the family.
Almost 2 decades ago, we purchased land in a new subdivision and built our dream house as far from the city as possible to enjoy fresh air and nature even if it meant a lengthy commute to work. Our joy didn't last very long when we realized that our neighbour was using a wood burning furnace as an only source for heating his house.
For at least 6 months of every year we have to endure inhaling heavy smoke coming at us from our neighbour's chimney with no mercy. So we complained and complained to them in a very friendly fashion and received a very friendly response that they will do something, but with no results at all. We were very optimistic and were hoping for a change that never came.
With our house finished, we decided to start a family and were blessed with 2 children. That's when we truly realized that something is very wrong when we can't open our windows to let fresh air in because there is none - just wood smoke and odour. Our babies were never able to have an afternoon nap outside because the air stinks so bad. Pollution from our neighbour's chimney was overwhelming, driving us into depression and despair. Again we tried to talk to them but nothing has changed. We told them that their pollution and smoke comes into our house almost all the time, fills our house and is very bad for our health, especially our young children. Their answer was shocking for us. "Sorry, we can't help you. We moved all the way out here because it is legal to do this." They have very strong beliefs and no compassion to our pleading and offering financial help or any other help to change out their heating system.
Another shocking piece of
news was when we contacted GVRD's Air
Quality Complaint line many times and were
told that they were allowed to do that. The
GVRD told us they could burn as much and as
long as they want. How is this possible in
this day and age when second hand smoke from
cigarettes is not allowed anywhere yet
second hand smoke from a neighbour's wood
burning appliance is allowed? How is it
possible for these people to legally poison
our breathing air on a daily basis with no
penalty at all? How can it be legal for
someone else to take our breath away and
make us and our children sick?
WHERE IS THE PROTECTION FOR OUR FAMILIES HEALTH? DOES ANYONE CARE?
I hope the story you just read gives you some insight into how helpless and hopeless people feel when they can't protect their family from a neighbour's toxic wood smoke. If there is no authority that people can turn to for help, what can they do? What happens to those that cannot afford legal help? Would they be forced to move out of their homes? Could they afford to do that? Would they be able to sell their home when a potential buyer saw or smelled the smoke? Or, would they have to remain in their homes with their children and become sicker? It's a thought that is very disturbing to me and should be to you. I think it is high time that banning all wood burning in residential areas becomes a reality. Residential wood smoke is a threat to our health, environment, well being and is a preventable burden to our health care system! I have to admit that I am ashamed of our medical health offices, our bylaw people, our environmental committees and last but not least our elected politicians for letting this toxic, invasive and preventable form of toxic pollution to continue. Where is the protection for the people who are breathing the toxic emissions from their neighbours who have chosen wood to heat their house? We must have protection from this toxic, invasive and preventable form of toxic pollution!
Would anyone like to trade homes with this family for a night, a week or a month? If your answer is no - why not?