While historic fires have been battering Canada for several days, an orange fog has blanketed New York City, making the air unbreathable there.
The famous Statue of Liberty and the “skyline” of Manhattan shrouded in a disturbing yellow-orange fog. Wildfires in Quebec darken New York, 800 km to the south, and the east coast of the United States, making the air unbreathable.
“You can’t even see the Statue of Liberty,” alarmed Jack Wright from the banks of the East River in Brooklyn. This 76-year-old former lawyer claims to have “stopped smoking 50 years ago” but he says he “coughs” as when he was a smoker.
Covid masks are reappearing on the streets of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, like Hugh Hill walking his dog in Central Park, the gigantic green lung of the economic and cultural capital of the United States.
His eyes and throat “stinging”, this 43-year-old lawyer says he does everything not to breathe too much of this air with its acrid smell, characteristic of burnt wood.
“I don’t know if it’s psychological or physical, but I know there are advantages to wearing a mask even if, obviously, it can’t prevent everything,” he told AFP.
Worse and worse
Right in the center of Manhattan, the financial and business heart of the megalopolis, the atmospheric conditions are getting worse every hour: an increasingly thick yellow-orange fog around the skyscrapers and an almost unbreathable air for the employees of office rushing to get lunch.
Since Tuesday, city and state authorities have been increasing alert messages to make New Yorkers aware of the sudden and unprecedented impact of these fires in Canada, the intensity and frequency of which are linked to the change climatic.
Senator Chuck Schumer, Democratic Senate Majority Leader in Washington, said he was “saddened to see that New York City, which traditionally enjoys good air quality, has one of the worst world because of these forest fires” in Quebec, 800 km to the north.
The situation is even worse in the large, upscale, green suburbs north of the Bronx along the Hudson River, where the sky turns yellow-orange-grey and the air scrapes your throat.
According to state governor Kathy Hochul, the air quality index has dropped from “harmful to ‘very harmful’ and all outdoor school and extracurricular activities are suspended. “It’s not not the day to train for the marathon”, warned, with his sense of understatement, the mayor of the city Eric Adams.
According to IQAir.com, which monitors pollution levels around the world, the air quality index for New York reached a record high of 324 on Wednesday afternoon, on a scale of zero to 500. The concentration of PM2.5 micro-particles is at a level more than ten times higher than the standards of the World Health Organization.
Source: BFM TV