Northwest NEWS

May 7, 2001

Editorial

Chipping Event prevented release of toxins

I want to commend you and the entire city of Woodinville for your April 14th Chipping Event. The efforts of Woodinville's City Council, Public Works Department, volunteers, and business partners to organize and support this event helped residents comply with the state's newly enacted ban on yard waste burning in your area and protected our region's air in the process.
   The Clean Air Agency has received numerous letters and faxes, both for and against the new burn ban boundaries, from residents in the Woodinville area. We understand that outdoor burning is an issue about which local residents feel very strongly. I want to thank you and the City Council for being proactive and helping your citizens to address their needs for tidy yards and disposal without compromising air quality. The 48 cubic yards of waste (roughly equivalent to 10.6 tons) your volunteers chipped during Woodinville's event would have released 2,315 pounds of air pollution had they been burned. You, your volunteers and sponsors, and the dozens of residents who participated can be proud to have prevented the release of more than a ton of pollutants into Woodinville's air.
   Of particular concern, when it comes to outdoor burning, is the emission of fine particles, called "PM2.5." These tiny particles (and the toxins from wood smoke that ride along) are inhaled deeply into the lungs, where they lodge and cause and variety of respiratory problems, including cancer. Children, people with emphysema and asthma, and people over 50 are particularly vulnerable to PM2.5 pollution. Burning 48 cubic yards of yard waste would have released 389 pounds of harmful fine particles, where it could have adversely affected many of Woodinville's residents. I hope this is the first of many such events in Woodinville, and that other area cities follow your example to serve the needs of their citizens so well.
   Dennis J. McLerran,
   Puget Sound Clean Air Agency