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Mills fouling the air

Chemical content within wildfire smoke

On Sept. 17, the air quality in the Valley was again at a dangerous level. It is due to chemical content in wildfire smoke.

Here comes another cloud of it – but wait! That cloud is more stinky and coming from the opposite direction. It is only the usual chemical air pollutants from pulp mills: sulphur dioxide, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, carbon monoxide and particulate matter.

My uncle used to assure me not to worry as it was just “the smell of money”. The premier went further and assured us last year we could all “breathe easier” with the mills up and operating at full capacity. But he does not breathe here.

Perhaps mill owners and workers could repurpose their spectacular oceanfront (old mills in other jurisdictions have found good money in opening them up to tourism) and spread the wealth to the whole community instead of just to a few. If not, more scrubbers and better stacking at these mills are needed for the increasing air inversions that climate change brings.

H. Harris