On Tuesday, a vast area of the eastern United States experienced poor air quality that caused unhealthy conditions for millions of people. The reason for this was smoke from wildfires in eastern Canada that had spread across a large part of the country.
On Tuesday, there was a warning about air quality in effect for multiple areas in New York state. IQAir, a Swiss air monitoring company, reported that New York City had the seventh-worst air quality among major cities worldwide by 6 p.m.
And the mayor of the city advised citizens not to go out into the open air “except for absolute necessity.”
Air Quality Health Advisory: Until 11:59 PM on Wednesday, 6/7. People with respiratory concerns, such as asthma, should reduce heavy exertion outdoors. Info: https://t.co/eOwfmZ88hO. Multilingual & ASL Link: https://t.co/ZPuQmEYCP6. pic.twitter.com/6BDULkKE4q— NYC Mayor’s Office (@NYCMayorsOffice) June 7, 2023
As a result, at least 10 school districts in central New York state canceled outdoor activities and gatherings on Tuesday. These activities include academic and sporting events, while outdoor recreation and sports classes have been cancelled, according to CNN .
According to NBC News, smog has covered a wide swath of the United States, stretching from the Ohio Valley to the far south since Monday.
Air quality warnings were issued on Monday in southeastern Minnesota and parts of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, as well as in more than 60 counties in Wisconsin on Monday, as well as in Virginia in the east.
So much wildfire smoke. Ugh. pic.twitter.com/SRYpCrQH0m— Matt Brickman (@Matt_Brickman) June 6, 2023
Meteorologists said the concentration of smoke may decrease overnight, but widespread fog is also expected until Wednesday morning.
The sharp rise in air pollution comes from wildfires raging in the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Nova Scotia. `
As of Tuesday evening, Canada had a total of 414 fires, out of which 239 were considered “out of control,” as per the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Center.
The country is experiencing one of the worst starts to the wildfire season, and federal officials said last week that more than 6.7 million acres in the country have already burned in 2023.
In Quebec, about 14,000 people have been forced to evacuate, and more than 150 fires are still burning in the province.
Researchers are particularly concerned, according to CNN, of smoke particles (PM2.5) “small enough to enter the respiratory tract, but large enough to cause problems in the respiratory vessels.”
New York City has the worst air quality of any major city in the world right now, according to a live ranking by IQAir, a technology company that tracks air quality and pollution around the world.— The New York Times (@nytimes) June 7, 2023
Follow the latest updates on the wildfire smoke here. https://t.co/N0qE9kyyhs pic.twitter.com/SPpTFohMJ0
Millions of people die each year due to health issues related to air pollution.
And in 2016, about 4.2 million premature deaths were linked to particulate matter, according to the World Health Organization.
The PM2.5 concentration in the air of New York City was more than ten times higher than the World Health Organization’s guideline on Tuesday.
Detroit, Michigan, is also listed among the 10 worst air polluted locations in the world.
And human-caused climate change has exacerbated the hot, dry conditions that allow wildfires to burn and grow.
Carbon pollution has been identified by scientists as the cause of the wildfires that burned millions of acres in the western US and Canada, which is an area approximately equivalent to South Carolina in size.
Experts tell the network that exposure to this type of pollution can cause inflammation and weaken the immune system, especially when small particles penetrate the lungs and enter the bloodstream.
Particulate pollution may increase the risk of developing asthma, lung cancer, or other chronic lung diseases, particularly in vulnerable groups such as the elderly, pregnant women, infants, and children.
Increases in Covid-19 and influenza have also been linked to wildfire smoke.