B.C. Air Quality

Sources and Types of Emissions and Air Pollutants

Sources can be natural or caused by humans. Natural sources of pollutants include forest fires, wind-blown dust and volcanoes. Human sources include emissions from fossil fuel burning (oil, gas and coal), wood burning and stirred-up dust from vehicles or construction.

A point source is a single, stationary source of pollution, such as an industrial facility, that typically operates under some kind of government authorization (e.g., a permit, approval or regulation). A nonpoint source includes stationary and mobile sources that are individually small compared to point sources, but collectively large, such as wood stoves, motor vehicles and lawnmowers. It also includes sources whose emissions are spread out over a broad area, such as prescribed burning

Ambient Air Quality

Ambient air quality refers to the quality of outdoor air to which the public has access. Poor ambient air quality occurs when pollutants reach high enough concentrations to affect human health and/or the environment. Ambient air quality is typically measured near ground level, away from direct sources of pollution.

For more information, see Where Do Air Pollutants Come From? (B.C. Air Action Plan) Scroll halfway down the page for this pie chart.

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