New York residents urged to stay indoors as unhealthy air quality from Canadian wildfires persists

unhealthy air quality from Canadian wildfires persists

Wednesday | June 7, 2023

As an orange haze of wildfire smoke from Canada hovers over parts of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, officials in New York state are warning residents to avoid being outdoors due to the potential health risk that could persist Wednesday.

As heavy smoke from more than 100 wildfires blazing north of the Canadian border drifted south on Tuesday, New York City experienced the worst air quality of any major city throughout some of that day.

According to the National Weather Service, the smoke has also caused air quality alerts in several areas of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and the Carolinas.

New York Mayor Eric Adams asked citizens to restrict their outside activities due to the worrying air quality, which could persist to some extent on Wednesday. State environmental officials also issued an air quality health advisory for the city until Wednesday.

According to experts, “active children, adults, and people with lung diseases like asthma should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion outdoors.”

All outdoor activities were postponed on Wednesday, although schools in New York City will still be open. Tuesday outside activities and festivities were postponed in at least 10 school districts in central New York state.

According to IQair, New York City’s air quality index at 7 a.m. on Wednesday was just under 180, which is considered to be “unhealthy.”

According to IQair, the city’s air quality index exceeded 200 overnight on Tuesday into Wednesday, placing it in the “very unhealthy” category.

According to IQair’s research, New York City had the poorest air quality of any significant metro area on Tuesday at 10 p.m.

After New Delhi, India, it had the second-worst Tuesday night, according to IQair. Doha, Qatar; Baghdad, Iraq; and Lahore, Pakistan were also on the list.

According to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Center, more than 150 wildfires are burning in Quebec this week, which has caused the air quality in the northeastern US to worsen.

More than 400 wildfires have been reported in the province so far this year, which is more than double the seasonal norm.

This year, wildfires have scorched more than 9 million acres over the entire country of Canada, which is around 15 times the usual burned area at this time of the year.

The hot and dry conditions that cause wildfires have been made worse by human-induced climate change. According to recent reports, the greatest fossil fuel and cement producers in the world are responsible for millions of acres burned by wildfires in the Western US and Canada, an area nearly the size of South Carolina.

Air quality concerns span multiple states

On Wednesday, the Northeast, the mid-Atlantic, and the Carolinas are expected to experience the most smoke. These areas may continue to experience smoke at least until Thursday.

The air quality in major cities including New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC, is anticipated to get better during the day.

However, Wednesday is expected to be a worse day for the air in Raleigh, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, and Boston.

Due to the presence of PM2.5, the smallest of particles, wildfire smoke is extremely hazardous.

It can penetrate the lungs deeply and reach the bloodstream when inhaled. It is a byproduct of the burning of fossil fuels, dust storms, and wildfires, and it has been connected to a number of health issues, including as asthma, heart disease, and other respiratory conditions.

And the effects can be fatal: According to the World Health Organization, 4.2 million premature deaths were linked to fine particulate matter in 2016.

William Barrett, the American Lung Association’s national senior director of clean air advocacy, said, “If you can see or smell smoke, know that you’re being exposed.” And it’s crucial that you take all possible precautions to stay indoors during such high-pollution periods. It’s also crucial to monitor your health for any changes in symptoms.

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