Environmental issues have been around for ages. It’s not that the planet was any better centuries ago because our ancestors also faced countless natural disasters that threatened their survival and their very existence on the planet. Even during the time of the dinosaurs, the earth wasn’t always a safe haven for everyone. They’re extinct now, right?! And the same can be said about the problems we are facing today such as global warming and climate change. Not only have they worsened weather phenomenon and made natural disasters more intense than they ought to be but climate change, for instance, has a big impact our daily lives.
People who live in different places in the world do not necessarily experience the same thing all the time because of differing geographical location. They face risks that are not experienced by others. Canada today is battling air quality issues because of a massive wildfire that not only reduced entire forest ecosystems into ashes but filled the entire sky with smoke. People living nearby are already suffering from respiratory problems and travelers are likewise advised to prepare for visibility issues because of the excessive smoke and haze filling the neighboring areas and its skies.
Environment Canada has issued a special air quality alert as wildfire smoke is blanketing much of southern Manitoba, resulting in poor air quality and reduced visibility.
According to the alert, westerly winds are spreading significant amounts of wildfire smoke across the prairies and will continue to do so until a cold front pushes through the region. The cold front is expected to move through western Saskatchewan this morning, and then slump southeastwards, moving through eastern Saskatchewan by Tuesday evening, and then across southern Manitoba on Tuesday night. As the cold front passes, cleaner air will move in from the north.
For many areas, this event will be seen by very hazy skies with moderately elevated Air Quality Health Index values in the four to seven range. However, due to local effects, some areas will see significant reductions in air quality, with AQHI values exceeding seven (high) and potentially exceeding 10 (very high).
The wildfire in itself is already a safety and health risk as fire is not a friendly element at all. It will destroy everything in its path and we are not even talking yet about the many local wild animals that were killed or displaced by this horrific disaster that is also engulfing the air that many Canadians breathe in a thick blanket of smoke.
“The wildfires burning in Waterton Lakes National Park continue to produce widespread smoke and poor air quality over southwestern areas, especially near the park boundaries,” the weather agency said on its website. “Over the next few days, a persistent weather pattern will result in very little improvement in conditions.
“The poor air quality may even spread into adjacent regions by mid week.”
On Sunday, Alberta Health Services said it was asking people to “refrain from visiting at Cardston and Pincher Creek Health Centres until further notice.
“Air quality has improved slightly, but smoke is still entering the buildings when doors are opened,” AHS said. “We sincerely thank everyone for their patience, understanding and co-operation during this time. We understand these restrictions may pose an inconvenience.”
Let us not wait for the time to come when we even have to buy the air that we breathe. It has happened now with water and many other life essentials. Most of the things people in the past took for granted like water and free food in their surroundings and other natural resources are now being sold to us modern people at a high price. If we don’t get our act together and start protecting what’s left of the environment right now and do some major damage control by changing the way we live, it may very well be the reason of mankind’s undoing in the near future.