Fine Particulate Matter – Wood Smoke
GMTMA’s main focus is on transportation which includes air pollution that comes from vehicles. Transportation is one of the largest contributors to air pollution, but not the only one. Therefore when New Jersey announced that this week is Air Quality Awareness Week we knew we needed to get the word out.
Even though the cold weather is almost over (I hope) and you are less likely to need a fire in a fireplace or wood stove; wood smoke is still an issue. During the summer months people often burn yard debris and campfires which can create even more smoke than a clean burning wood stove.
Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5) –found in wood smoke- is one of the major air pollutants in New Jersey. When people breathe the particulate matter negative health effects like asthma attacks, hearth and lung disease, and premature death result. Children are also very susceptible to health effects from smoke because they breathe twice as much air per pound of body weight as adults.
A few simple things to remember when burning outdoors: check with your local fire department for outdoor burning rules, only burn clean dry yard waste, burn the wood as hot as possible to decrease smoke, completely extinguish the fire before leaving, and make sure the smoke does not create a nuisance with your neighbors.
Sitting around a campfire can be a great way to spend a summer evening, but if it is not properly controlled it can create major health issues.