Canada fires severely affect New York's air quality

The city's air pollution rate is at unprecedented levels, comparable only to Delhi, India, or Bangladesh.

A thick layer of smoke cloaks the skies over New York. It does not bring rain. It is air carrying pollution particles from Canada, where a wave of fires is raging wildly across Toronto, Ottawa and Quebec. New York authorities issued a series of recommendations and asked the population not to go outdoors to practice strenuous activities.

New York's air pollution is perceptible to the naked eye. Particulate matter condensation in the air coming from the north is such that New York's poor air quality broke records on Tuesday, according to IQair's daily updated list.

Only the air in Delhi, India, is worse than the air circulating as of Tuesday in New York. IQair's ranking considers that New York's air pollution values reached 160 points on Wednesday, they called this "unhealthy." In some hours on Tuesday the score exceeded 200 points, they called this "very unhealthy."

"New York State experts monitor air quality every day to ensure that New Yorkers have the latest information about air quality in their communities and what they can do to protect themselves," Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a statement. "I encourage New Yorkers to take appropriate steps to help limit the risk of exposure," she continued.

The danger to the public lies in the fine particulate matter that the combustion of the fires in Canada is pushing into the air. Exposure to these airborne particles can cause short-term health effects such as eye, nose and throat irritation, coughing, sneezing, runny nose and difficulty breathing. Exposure to high levels of fine particulate matter can also worsen diseases such as asthma and heart disease.

For these reasons the recommendations of the New York State Government want to focus especially on people with heart or respiratory problems, as well as children and the elderly, may be especially sensitive to these fine particles.

Canada's fires are a prelude to New York's wildfire prevention campaign. The Government advises that the necessary and updated information for citizens is available through several web pages.