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In New York, schools are closed due to smoke and musicals are canceled: how badly the air is polluted


Alina Prikhodko

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Smog from wildfires engulfing Canada has led to a record high air pollution index in tri-state (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut). New York City has closed schools, canceled sporting events, festivals, Broadway musicals and even flights.

According to the information on the site ABC, several colleges are moving to distance learning. Schools canceled outdoor classes, Broadway theaters canceled plays, major league baseball canceled games. The US aviation regulator has reported flight delays to a number of airports in the region due to poor visibility.

The city's zoos and the New York Aquarium are closed for the safety of staff, visitors, and animals. Ticket holders will be replaced with other dates.

The Yankee game against the Chicago White Sox at Yankee Stadium has been postponed and is scheduled to take place today, June 8 at 16:05 pm, weather permitting. The WNBA has postponed a game between the New York Liberty and the Minnesota Lynx at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Such cancellations and a sepia view of the city, as the locals joke, are very scary. But is it really all that scary? In short, yes, very scary. For a more extensive answer, read on.

On the subject: New York was covered in smoke: how to protect housing from dangerous air

How bad is the air quality in New York City

Experts give a lot of numbers describing air quality, but they are mostly incomprehensible to the average person. So let's figure it out. The most commonly referred to is the air quality index (AQI). Here are his possible indicators:

  • 0-50: air quality is good and does not pose a threat to health.
  • 51-100: acceptable air quality. Some people may experience discomfort.
  • 101-150: air quality in this range is harmful to sensitive groups. They experience discomfort when breathing.
  • 151-200: unhealthy air quality, people begin to have difficulty breathing.
  • 201-300: the air quality is very unhealthy, all people experience discomfort or even have to go to the hospital.
  • 301-500: hazardous air pollution capable of causing serious health effects (suffocation, respiratory irritation, etc.)

On Wednesday, June 7, the AQI index in New York City reached a dangerous level. At 16:00, the AQI was 413, the most polluted air in the city has not been for the past 20 years. On June 7, the city ranked first in the world in terms of air pollution. At the time of this writing (13:50 June 8) New York dropped to third place with AQI 160.

Photo: Lydia Kalinina

According to the New York City Environment Portal, air quality changes dramatically every hour, even in areas with the cleanest air. So be careful and stay indoors as much as possible. If you still need to go outside, wear a mask! They are handed out by New York authorities for free.

In each district of the city, two masks are given out to one hand. They can be obtained in all police stations, and so in fire departments (below are their addresses):

FDNY Division 6 - 720 Melrose Avenue
FDNY Division 7 - 2417 Webster Avenue
Tremont Neighborhood Health Action Center - 1826 Arthur Avenue

FDNY Division 11–172 Tillary Street
FDNY Division 15–885 Howard Avenue
Brownsville Neighborhood Health Action Center - 259 Bristol Street

FDNY Division 1 - 100 Duane Street
FDNY Division 3 - 207 W 77th Street
East Harlem Neighborhood Health Action Center - 158 East 115th Street

FDNY Division 13 - 91-45 121st Street
FDNY Division 14–108-01 Horace Harding Expressway

Staten Island
FDNY Division 8–1850 Clove Road

How dangerous is smog

Wildfire smoke emits fine particulate matter called PM2,5. They enter the lungs and cause health problems such as asthma and bronchitis. PM2,5 concentrations in New York on June 6 and 7 were 15 times the annual air quality guideline.

Polluted air is dangerous for all residents without exception, but primarily for children, the elderly, as well as those who suffer from asthma and cardiovascular diseases.

Monitor air quality in real time here.

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