By: Jaylene Matias

Canada wildfire causes harmful air quality in New York City. In the past week, New York City has experienced very high levels of air pollution. Orange smoke-filled skies left millions of New Yorkers feeling concerned. The air was so polluted that the city had a record for worst air quality in the world and this was all due to the hundreds of wildfires burning in Quebec. Harmful smoke wafted from the south and polluted the air quality.

The smoke has periodically engulfed the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region for more than a week and that raises concerns of persistent harmful air quality and the negative health effects that it brings

New York City’s air quality index was above 200 which, according to IQair,  is considered “very unhealthy,”. At 10 p.m. on June 6 New York City had the worst air quality of any major metropolitan area. As a result of the dangerous air, there were at least 10 school districts that canceled outdoor activities, including academic, athletic, and extracurricular events.

Wildfire smoke is extremely harmful because it contains very tiny particulate matter, also known as PM2.5, a tiny pollutant that is most dangerous. If this pollutant is inhaled it can travel into your lung tissue and enter the bloodstream. This dangerous pollutant comes from various sources like the combustion of fossil fuels, dust storms, and wildfires, and has also been linked to a number of health problems including asthma, heart disease, and other respiratory illnesses.

Millions of people die each year due to air pollution-related health issues. According to the World Health Organization, In 2016, around 4.2 million premature deaths were associated with fine particulate matter. On Tuesday, the concentration of PM2.5 in New York City’s air was more than 10 times the guideline set by the World Health Organization.

Senior citizens, children, and people who are pregnant or have respiratory or cardiovascular diseases are most vulnerable to wildfire smoke. Symptoms may worsen or newly develop when exposed to smoke.

Currently, there are more than 150 active wildfires burning in Quebec. This is more than double the number of fires that are burning in any other Canadian province. Since the beginning of this year, there have been more than 400 wildfires that have ignited across Quebec. Nearly 9 million acres have been charred by wildfires in Canada so far this year, with nearly half a million acres burned across Quebec alone.

Wildfires are human-caused and humans have exacerbated the hot and dry conditions that allow wildfires to ignite and grow. It was reported by scientists that the millions of acres that were scorched by wildfires are almost the size of South Carolina. These wildfires could be traced back to carbon pollution from fossil fuel and cement companies

Wildfires are an extremely disastrous event that is caused by climate change. As the number of wildfires increases the air is just going to get more polluted and millions of people will be affected negatively.