New York City’s air pollution is among the worst in the world as smoke from Canadian wildfires blankets the Northeast


New York City topped the list for the world’s worst air pollution on Tuesday Noxious smoke drifted south More than a hundred forest fires are burning in Quebec.

Smoke from Canada’s wildfires periodically engulfs the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. More than a weekIt raises concerns about the impacts of persistently poor air quality.

New York City’s air quality index was above 200 at one point Tuesday night — which it says is “very unhealthy.” IQair. According to IQair, the city had the worst air quality of any major metropolitan area as of 10 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

On Tuesday night, New York City had the second-worst air pollution in the world, after India’s New Delhi, according to IQair. Other cities on the list include Doha, Qatar; Baghdad, Iraq; and Lahore, Pakistan.

New York City also briefly topped the list Tuesday morning.

As a result, at least 10 school districts in central New York state canceled outdoor activities and events on Tuesday. Those activities include academic, athletic and extracurricular events, while outdoor recess and gym classes were also canceled, school district announcements said.

Wildfire smoke contains very small particulate matter, or PM2.5 – the smallest pollutant but the most dangerous. When inhaled, it penetrates deep into the lung tissue and enters the bloodstream. It comes from sources such as the burning of fossil fuels, dust storms and wildfires, and has been linked to many health problems, including Asthma, heart disease and others Respiratory diseases.

Millions of people die every year from health problems related to air pollution. In 2016, approx 4.2 million premature deaths According to the World Health Organization, related to fine particles.

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On Tuesday, PM2.5 concentrations in New York City’s air were 10 times higher than guidelines set by the World Health Organization.

“If you see or smell smoke, know you’re exposed,” said William Barrett, national senior director of the American Lung Association’s Clean Air Advisory. “It’s important to do everything you can to stay indoors during those high, heavy pollution episodes, and it’s really important to monitor your health or the development of symptoms.”

People especially vulnerable to wildfire smoke are “children, senior citizens, people who are pregnant or people with respiratory or cardiovascular diseases,” Barrett said, adding that symptoms may worsen or develop anew when they smoke.

“In fact, make sure you take the appropriate steps to check in with health care providers about the symptoms that come up during these events,” Barrett said.

More than 150 wildfires are burning in Quebec this week, according to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Center — more than double the number of fires burning in any other Canadian province.

More than 400 wildfires have burned across Quebec so far in 2023, more than double this year’s average. Wildfires have burned nearly 9 million acres in Canada so far this year, with nearly half a million acres burned across Quebec alone.

Air quality warnings were in effect for much of the Northeast and Midwest on Tuesday as wildfire smoke drifted west of Detroit and Chicago.

“Weather conditions are expected to have a wide range of ozone or particulate matter levels at or above unhealthy for sensitive air quality index groups,” the National Weather Service in Chicago said. “Active children and adults, especially those with lung or respiratory disease such as asthma, should limit prolonged outdoor activity.”

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Spencer Platt/Getty Images

People walk through Brooklyn Park in New York City on Tuesday morning. Air pollution levels are unhealthy for sensitive groups due to smoke from Canadian wildfires.

Detroit was listed in IQair’s top 10 worst places for air pollution Tuesday afternoon. Chicago’s air quality was moderate Tuesday afternoon and is expected to remain moderate for the next two days.

Meanwhile, Pittsburgh’s air quality remained at unhealthy levels, with forecasts showing little change to unhealthy for sensitive groups such as the elderly, young children and people with respiratory problems, before returning to moderate levels on Wednesday. The city remained under an air quality alert throughout Tuesday.

New York and parts of New England So was the air quality Warning for Tuesday for most of New York state and including Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Vermont. Cities such as Baltimore, Boston, Hartford, Providence and Montpelier, Vermont are forecast to have unhealthy air quality for sensitive groups on Tuesday.

A cold front is expected to move south over the next few days, pushing smoke south and east through the week.

There is human-caused climate change Increased heat and dry conditions Allowing wildfires to ignite and grow. Scientists recently reported Millions of acres burned by wildfires in the western United States and Canada — roughly the size of South Carolina — were traced to carbon pollution from the world’s largest fossil fuel and cement companies.

When they burn, smoke can travel thousands of miles downstream and harm millions of people.

“Wildfires are very much a global warming issue,” said Glory Dolphin Hames, CEO of IQAir North America. previously told CNN. “It has a lot to do with climate change, which is creating fundamentally unsafe conditions.”

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