This week, a strikingly orange haze has descended upon New York City, bringing with it pollution levels surpassing those of all other major global cities.
This phenomenon stems from the copious smoke produced by hundreds of wildfires ablaze in distant Canadian regions, with conditions predicted to persist across the Northeast throughout the weekend.
Each of New York’s five boroughs has been put under an Air Quality Health Advisory due to prevailing wind currents driving the smoke southwards from over 150 forest fires in Quebec. Around 110 of these fires are presently uncontrollable. Consequently, locals are warned of “unhealthy” air and continued smoky conditions persisting until Sunday.
On Tuesday, Mayor Eric Adams advised citizens, particularly those with heart or respiratory issues, to restrict their outdoor activities to essential tasks only.
By Wednesday afternoon, the city’s pollution levels were deemed “hazardous.”
According to IQair, a pollution monitoring website, the air quality index touched a startling 342 on Wednesday afternoon. It’s been the poorest air quality New York has experienced since the 1980s, even surpassing conditions following the 9/11 attacks.
Adding to New York’s problems, more severe conditions are reportedly affecting Pennsylvania and Delaware. The wildfires’ smoke is being carried into the Northeast and mid-Atlantic states by upper-level winds.