Kelowna air dirtier than New Delhi’s?

People around the valley are finding new ways to cope with less than ideal air quality.

Jenifer Calhoun doesn’t need the daily government updates about how poor the air quality has become.

She’s alerted to it with every breath her children take.

Her daughter Hailey, 3, has asthma and since the most recent wave of smoke rolled into the city, she’s gone through three inhalers in an effort to breathe a little easier.

Then there’s her seven-month-old son, who she’s been told has to stay indoors until the worst has passed.

“His breathing is a concern,” Calhoun said. “Right now he’s having a hard time and I have to take him to the doctor today.”

So they’re housebound and their view isn’t great. Usually from their vantage point in the Lower Mission, they could see the hillsides. Now they’re just looking at a wall of grey.


“Everybody is getting cabin fever,” she said. “They want to go outside, but the doctor advised we can’t so we’ve just been doing crafts… we can’t even take our dog for a walk.”

It’s not just the Calhoun family that’s suffering from the weight of smoky skies.

Infants, the elderly and people with health complications such as heart disease or asthma have been advised to stay indoors with the windows shut. Air conditioning and filters are considered a must, though they’re not improving conditions for everyone.

Michael Boyarski, district manager for BC Ambulance Services in the Central Okanagan said that there has been a significant jump in calls in the last month.


“The Central Okanagan saw an 11 per cent increase in call volume for the month of July when compared to the previous month,” Boyarski said, adding he can’t confirm the spike in calls is directly to do with air quality.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry did, however, make that connection in a Tuesday press conference addressing the current state of wildfires around the province.

“We do monitoring of trends over time and we look at how many people have doctors visits or prescriptions for medications,” Henry said.

“We have seen an increase of people who access medical care for respiratory conditions and that’s varied by time of day and different places across the province.”

Henry also said that air quality fluctuates greatly depending on the weather.

Real-time air pollution data collected by the World Air Quality Index project, pegged the air quality index in Kelowna at an “unhealthy” level on Friday, while Beijing was “good.”

Kelowna air on Tuesday was dirtier than New Delhi, which is renowned for its subpar air quality. It had an “unhealthy for sensitive groups” rating that day.

The difference, however, is the Central Okanagan is not suffering from poor air quality on a long term basis.


Just Posted

Penticton bookkeeper may face jail time for embezzlement

Sentencing stances ranged from three years of probation to six months in jail for $60k embezzlement

Penticton Lakers lose to Kelowna Owls in basketball provincial qualifier

Junior girls basketball provincial qualifier held in Penticton

Public invited to bring Smart Cities Challenge ideas to ExpOCP

Penticton residents can offer ideas at event held on Jan. 18

Video: Physicians salute Penticton philanthropist

Physicians say philanthropist, David Kampe, “single-handedly” changed patient care quality

Regular offender gets three more weeks in jail

Richard Meier, who has been through the revolving door, stole a purse and spent $800 on credit cards

Video: Documentary features Okanagan ice climbing

First documentary for Penticton filmmaker captures elusive Okanagan ice climbing

Senior randomly stabbed in B.C. mall food court

Woman arrested after victim, 71, suffers serious injuries

B.C. Liberal hopefuls begin final leadership push

Five MLAs, one outsider pitch policies to party members

Vancouver Island marijuana producer bought by Aphria in $230M deal

Aphria’s annual production forecast increases to 230,000 kgs

Lawyer says RCMP cleared in car wash shooting

Independent report into shooting of Kayman Winter not yet released to the public.

UPDATED: ‘Young, innocent’ teen hit during Vancouver shootout dies

15-year-old Coquitlam boy was in a car driving by the scene

Ontario man charged with selling Canadian’s usernames and passwords

Ontario man ran site that peddled billions of pieces of personal data: RCMP

David Emerson quits lumber talks as legal action begins

Former federal minister served as B.C. softwood trade point man

Men accused in Michael Bonin’s murder knew him: IHIT

20-year-old’s body found on a rural service road North of Hope in April

Most Read