Air quality in some Canadian cities worse than smoking a pack of cigarettes

Jun 7 2023, 4:45 pm

Wildfires have recently been breaking out nationwide, causing the air quality in surrounding regions to hit highly unhealthy levels.

In some parts, things are so bad that 24 hours of exposure to the air is like smoking a pack of cigarettes.

According to World Air Quality Index, when this article was published, the Canadian capital of Ottawa was suffering from “hazardous” air quality right now, with an AQI of 235.

@jeronemog Our City Gets Hit With Forest Fire Smoke #fyp #forestfire #calibogie #ottawa ♬ Ambient-style emotional piano – MoppySound

We used an online tool to calculate how bad that exactly is in units of cigarette consumption and found that spending one day in Ottawa’s smoke-saturated air was like smoking nine cigarettes a day.

But even earlier on Wednesday morning, Ottawa’s AQI went beyond 500 points, according to AQICN historical data. That’s a shocking 27.7 cigarettes. Around 10 am, it hit 330 and began to get a little better.

air quality

The AQI in Kingston, Ontario, is 312, but earlier this morning, it stood at a maximum of 476.

That number is equal to inhaling over 26 cigarettes a day.

Out in Aylmer, Quebec, air quality is on a downward trend. The AQI hit 514 on Wednesday — as harmful as 28 cigarettes.

Currently, Canada stands in the third position globally for the worst air quality, with the US in the second position and India in the first.

Several parts of the US that border Canada has also been affected, and climate change activists worldwide are sounding the alarm.

air quality

Some climate activists say Canada’s wildfires came too early in the summer, meaning a longer, hotter summer could be in store, potentially accelerating the chances of other wildfires.

@karishmaclimategirl #greenscreen another video about these wildfires. Please please please share. Include the root cause in your conversations about wildfires. Talk about what this means for animals, birds, rivers, trees. They want us to think of this as a normal occurence. They want us to accept “wildfire season” like we accept “allergy season”. Don’t let yourselves be fooled, the lack of rain is a symptom of burning fossil fuels. #wildfires #wildfireseason #firefighter ♬ original sound – Karishma | Climate Girl

AQI over 300 points is grounds for an immediate health alert and can lead to serious health effects. The World Air Quality Index says such high levels of air pollution mean everyone in the area should avoid all outdoor exertion.

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