New York City’s renowned skyline has been shrouded in a dense haze caused by smoke from the devastating wildfires sweeping through Canada. As a result, the city has unfortunately gained a reputation for having some of the most severe air pollution levels globally. Thousands had to evacuate their homes in Canada and many cities along the US East Coast issued air quality alerts.
New York City’s mayor urged residents to stay indoors as the thick haze of pollution lead to flight delays, postponements of outdoor events, and visibility of yellow smog all around the city. “This is not the day to train for a marathon or to do an outside event with your children,” New York Mayor Eric Adams advised.
The U.S. National Weather Service issued air quality alerts across America’s northeast, extending west to Chicago, and south to Atalanta. “It’s critical that Americans experiencing dangerous air pollution, especially those with health conditions, listen to local authorities to protect themselves and their families,” President Joe Biden said on Twitter.
The wildfires have displaced more than 20,000 people and scorched about 3.8 million hectares of land. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau describes this incident as the worst season Canada has ever had.
IQAir.com said New York was enduring the worst air quality index (AQI) of any major city in the world. AirNow, another air quality monitor reported that the city’s AQI reached a hazardous level of 413 at 5:00 (2100 GMT).
Poor air quality is likely to extend up until the weekend, a developing storm system could be expected to shift the smoke westwards across the Great Lakes and deeper south through the Ohio Valley and into the mid-Atlantic region.