Deposition > Solutions > Resources
particulates released to the atmosphere from combustion sources
such as motor vehicle emissions, slash burning, and industrial
sources, contain nitrogen, sulphur, and metal compounds, which
eventually settle to the ground as dust or fall to the earth in
rain and snow. These pollutants, which may have distant origins,
may be deposited directly into waterbodies, filter slowly into
ground water, or in urban areas, be washed from roads, rooftops,
and parking lots into surface waters. The gradual effect can be
acidification of waters to a point where the natural buffering
capacity of receiving waters is exceeded and aquatic life is threatened.
Toxins, such as dioxins, furans, polychlorinated biphenyls, and
polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, transported by atmospheric processes
eventually accumulate in sediments, to the detriment of bottom-dwelling
organisms and fish and their consumers.
Automobile use in an area greatly affects the atmospheric deposition
of NPS pollutants, and this is a concern linked to urban sprawl.
British Columbia's Lower Fraser Valley, with its characteristic
weather patterns and surrounding mountains, now has a serious
air quality problem because of ever-increasing motor vehicle use.
In the Greater Vancouver area between 1984 and 1991, the number
of cars insured for driving to work increased twice as fast as
the population. Greater Vancouver now has more cars per capita
than Greater Los Angeles.
expanding population, expected to reach three million in
the Lower Mainland by 2021, could mean a doubling of vehicle-kilometres
travelled in the region. Greater congestion will lead to
more stop-and-go traffic, increasing the emissions released
per trip. From both an air quality and a water quality perspective,
the increased risk to human health of these projections
is of concern, given that the Lower Fraser Valley airshed
is now at or above its capacity to accept contaminants.
Significant efforts are being made to address these issues
in British Columbia, especially to ensure the use of clean
vehicles and fuels. Recent programs include:
legislative initiatives have also been completed:
efforts to manage point source of air discharge, regulating toxins
in motor vehicle emissions, and, above all, reducing overall motor
vehicle use are important strategies and will help address this
source of NPS water pollution in British Columbia.
can also help reduce air pollution by following these tips:
your vehicle use to reduce air pollution. Walk or cycle, take
public transit or carpool instead of driving your car. When
you have to drive, be sure to combine trips instead of making
several individual short trips.
- Keep your
engine well tuned to ensure it is running as efficiently as
- Keep your
tires maintained and properly inflated — this will improve
your fuel efficiency and reduce emissions.
- In the
Greater Vancouver Regional District or the Lower Fraser Valley,
report smoking heavy-duty vehicles by calling (604) 435-SMOG
your home insulation and weather proof your doors and windows
to reduce the amount of energy needed to heat your home. Emissions
will be reduced because less fuel is being burned.
- Use hand-powered
or electric lawn mowers and tools which are cleaner than gas
powered tools. On average, a car pollutes 10 times less than
gas mowers and leaf blowers.
Chip or compost yard wastes instead of burning which contributes
particulates and other harmful particulates to the atmosphere.
Environmental Quality Branch, British Columbia Ministry of
Water, Land and Air Protection
A Citizen's Action Guide