NewsUSA and Canadaair quality improves in the east and smoke drifts south

    air quality improves in the east and smoke drifts south

    This Friday, cities like New York or Washington DC improved their level of air pollution caused by the fires in neighboring Canada. Now, experts estimate that it will affect other cities in the south of the country such as Saint Louis or Missouri, while the scope of the smoke has even reached Norway.

    A bit of light in the middle of the thick cloud of orange smoke. That was what the inhabitants of cities like Washington DC or New York saw this Friday, after the improvement in air quality as the cloud of smoke from the forest fires in Canada continues its course to the south.

    On Thursday, the haze began to dissipate in the Mid-Atlantic and lowered the levels of air pollution that about 75 million people breathed for two days, the result of some 400 fires in the neighboring country.

    “This is due to a combination of smoke-related particulate pollution, but also rising ozone levels in more urban areas,” said Zack Taylor, a member of the US National Weather Service.

    From the local government of Washington they assured that they expect more improvements for Saturday.

    “We urge residents and visitors to follow precautions related to the ‘Code Orange’ air quality alert. Smoke continues to waft over the region, but concentrations have fallen below alert levels for sensitive groups,” he wrote. Muriel Bowser, mayor of Washington DC on her social networks.

    For her part, and after what happened, Kathy Hochul, governor of New York, promised that the state will manufacture one million N95 masks so that the population can be prevented from similar health alerts.

    Although the threat is not over. According to the National Weather Service of the United States, the smoke will now move to the Ohio Valley and the eastern Great Lakes region and will affect other cities in the south of the country such as Missouri or Louisville.

    Meanwhile, in Canada hundreds of forest fires are still active this Friday, in what experts have already warned could be the worst season of these incidents in recent history. This year alone, more than 2,300 outbreaks have scorched an estimated 4.3 million hectares, according to the Canadian Inter-Agency Wildland Fire Center. Something that has forced thousands of Canadians to leave their homes, even with the fire season far from over.

    The main reason for the severity of this fire season is the drought that the country is going through, according to environmental experts. The Canadian Drought Monitor reports that parts of northern Alberta, which is under a heat advisory, are experiencing severe drought conditions.

    But, despite the seriousness of the fires in Canada, what US citizens did not expect is that this environmental problem would end up affecting them through the smoke path as well. A situation that has made environmental and meteorological experts accuse a reality: no border can stop an environmental threat.

    Return of pandemic fear?

    Despite the improvement in the situation in several cities in the United States, the message from the authorities remains the same: stay indoors as much as possible. And it is that exposure to this type of fumes can cause everything from respiratory problems to cardiovascular conditions and other long-range diseases.

    As with the Covid-19 pandemic, many Americans have re-experienced the fear of being exposed to a threat abroad. Both children and adults had to stop their daily activities outside and lock themselves up at home. Or go out with an N95 mask. The maps indicated the most dangerous areas for public health in the cities, clearly reminiscent of the pandemic. And with it, for many fear and anxiety have also returned.

    “I think this shows that in some ways the mental health effects of Covid have persisted and that the aftermath of Covid has a longer lasting effect than we would like,” said Sarah Lowe, a clinical psychologist and associate professor at the Yale School of Public Health, to the newspaper ‘The New York Times’.

    Two people sit along the boardwalk with the Manhattan skyline visible in the background shrouded in haze and smoke caused by the wildfires in Canada, in Brooklyn, New York, U.S., June 8, 2023. © Amr Alfiky / Reuters

    And it is that the environmental warnings about the climate crisis do not give much hope, especially to the younger generations. This type of extreme weather episodes will be repeated more frequently in the coming years, something that generates what is known as “climate anxiety”. A fear shared by people all over the world, since the consequences of this crisis have and will have a global reach.

    In this specific case, the smoke from the fires in Canada has reached Norway. In recent days, plumes of smoke have spread from the North American country through Greenland, Iceland and towards the Nordic country, according to scientists from the Norwegian Institute for Climate and Environmental Research (NILU). And, although there it does not pose any risk to the population, it does send a warning message about the scope of this type of event.

    In turn, both Canada and the United States are trying to stop the advance of the fires. Washington has sent more than 600 firefighters to help its neighbor to the north fight the flames. From the White House, President Joe Biden announced measures to combat the consequences of smoke and took the opportunity to recall that this is one more danger of the climate crisis.

    With Reuters, EFE and local media

    Source: France 24

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    This post is posted by Awutar staff members. Awutar is a global multimedia website. Our Email: [email protected]


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