Vancouver air quality currently ranks worst in the world

Aug 13 2021, 10:11 pm

Vancouver currently has the worst air quality in the world.

According to IQ Air’s World Major City Air Quality list, Vancouver ranks first among major cities with the worst air quality, beating out notable cities such as Dubai and Mexico City.

air quality

Air quality and pollution city ranking as of Friday, August 13 at approximately 3 pm (IQ Air)

Other cities in the Pacific Northwest, such as Seattle and Portland, have also made the list, although Vancouver is the frontrunner.

The high ranking comes as wildfire smoke causes hazy skies over the city.

“Outflow winds are bringing smoke from wildfires burning in BC and Washington into and over the region, contributing to elevated fine particulate matter concentrations and hazy skies,” Environment Canada said in an advisory.

IQ Air bases its rankings on the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) air quality index (AQI) in order to “translate pollutant concentrations to a relatable scale for risk to health.”

This scale ranges from 0 to 500, where 0 is considered good air quality, 51 to 100 is moderate, 101 to 150 is unhealthy for sensitive groups, 151 to 200 is unhealthy, 201 to 300 is very unhealthy, and 301 to 500 is hazardous to health.

IQ Air notes that wildfires “release a range of air toxins including particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10), carbon monoxide, and nitrogen dioxide. Among these, fine particulate matter, or PM2.5, is most often present at the riskiest levels to health.”

With files from Megan Devlin

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