New York's Air Quality Worsens Due to Increasing Canadian Wildfires
NYC has worse air pollution than any other city globally, surpassing Delhi, ranked 8th in the global air quality report.
NEW YORK: The air quality in New York City has reached unhealthy levels due to fumes from wildfires in Canada, prompting serious alerts in several regions. The pollution in the metropolitan city has surpassed other major cities worldwide, including New Delhi. The smoke from the Canadian wildfires has shrouded the picturesque skyline of New York City, making it invisible behind a hazy veil. This situation is highly unusual and comparable to air pollution levels seen in countries with less stringent pollution standards, such as China, India, Southeast Asia, and South America.
The air quality in New York City was listed as "unhealthy," and visibility was significantly reduced due to the haze. Some weather stations reported visibility of less than a mile. The Federal Aviation Administration issued a ground stop at Newark Liberty International Airport and LaGuardia Airport due to low visibility caused by smoke and haze. The poor air quality also affected other cities and towns from Maryland to New Hampshire, with residents reporting low visibility and hazy skies. Delaware experienced some of the worst air quality levels, with Wilmington recording a very unhealthy air quality index.
AccuWeather forecasters predict that the "very unhealthy" air quality levels will persist throughout the week. This unprecedented situation has prompted officials to advise residents to limit outdoor activities. New York City public schools will remain open but will not offer any outdoor activities. New Jersey officials have also recommended that residents limit their time outside and wear N95 masks if they need to work outdoors. Several schools in New Jersey have canceled recess and other outdoor activities due to poor air quality.
To cope with the situation, AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Jonathan Porter suggests using high-quality N95 or KN95 masks when spending time outside. Keeping windows closed and using air conditioning or fans can also help, while HEPA filters can reduce the number of small particles in the air. Dr. Boris Quennehen, an air quality scientist, explains that smoke consists of gases and particles, the same pollutants that contribute to poor air quality.
The unusually severe air pollution in the Northeast region is a rare occurrence in modern times, and it emphasizes the importance of stringent air pollution standards and restrictions. The adverse conditions are expected to persist in some areas into the weekend. It is crucial for residents to take precautions and prioritize their health and well-being during this period of poor air quality.
“People should frequently check the AccuWeather exclusive Plume Labs air quality maps and limit their time outdoors,” said Porter, who recommended that if one must spend time outside, to use a high-quality N95 or KN95 mask. “Sleeping with the windows closed and using an air conditioner or fan can be helpful,” he said, adding that a HEPA filter can reduce the number of these small particles in the air. AccuWeather forecasters say the wildfire season in Canada got off to a devastatingly early start.
Over 8 million acres of land in Canada have been burned by wildfires, with over 400 active fires being tracked by the CIFFC. The resulting air pollution poses a health risk for individuals with heart or lung conditions, children, and adults over 65, who are advised to minimize outdoor activities.