The city of New York left phantasmagorical prints this Wednesday due to the pollution caused by the hundreds of fires that have ravaged neighboring Canada for several days and that have been swept by the wind for more than 1,500 kilometers to cover the Big Apple.
Times Square was bathed in an orange light, the sun seemed like the sticker of a yellow circle that barely illuminated the dense cloud of smoke that began to envelop the city, especially after 12:00 local time (16:00 GMT).
The city buildings seen from Central Park looked like the masts of a ghost ship. The city smelled of burning wood, of fire. Many streetlights turned on automatically due to the darkness that invaded the environment at the most critical moment.
The masks to protect themselves from polluting particles once again occupied the sidewalks of the Big Apple, as had not been seen in many months, and numerous public centers, such as schools, canceled their outdoor activities and suspended any outdoor act.
Highest pollution rate in half a century
New York Sanitation Commissioner Ashwin Vasan said today that New York is experiencing its highest levels of air pollution since the 1960s.
Vasan warned that the fine suspended particles “They can get into people’s lungs, cause inflammation, and worsen conditions such as asthma, chronic lung disease, or underlying heart disease.”.
The Health Commissioner, who warned that the situation could last several days, asked New Yorkers to avoid going out “except if absolutely necessary” and recommended the use of masks such as the N95 for those who have to carry out activities abroad.
“Smoke from the ongoing wildfires along the Canadian border has significantly affected air quality here in New York and throughout the northeastern United States”, stressed, for his part, the city’s emergency management commissioner, Zachary Iscol.
Contamination alert will continue until the weekend
Iscol reiterated that the environmental alert is expected to remain active “for the next few days” and warned that the presence of smoke in the air is “very difficult to foresee.”
“Yesterday, New Yorkers saw and smelled something that had never impacted us on this scale before,” said Mayor Eric Adams, referring to the fact that the cloud of contamination was clearly present on Tuesday afternoon.
Likewise, with an apocalyptic tone, the mayor warned that although it is the first time something like this has happened in the city, it will not be the last.
“Climate change is accelerating these situations. We must continue to reduce emissions, improve air quality and increase resilience,” she stressed.
New York is not the only major affected in the United States by the fires; in fact, residents of more than five US states woke up in a haze, caused by smoke, which has led authorities to alert citizens to the “dangerous” air conditions and ask them to stay away. limit outdoor activities.
In Canada, the smoke generated by the 400 forest fires that are active in its territory sounded the alarms on Wednesday in Toronto, the largest city in the country, where the air quality worsened on Tuesday night and went from moderate risk to “high”.
With these levels, the Canadian health authorities have also recommended refraining from spending time outdoors and predict that the bad conditions will continue at least until the weekend, when the arrival of a low pressure front is expected to renew the air.
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