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Why Are Masks Back In NYC - Reasons and Implications

New York City, a bustling metropolis known for its vibrant culture and iconic skyline, is grappling with air pollution, and masks have become our shield once again. The once pristine skies of New York City are now witnessing pollution 5 times above the national standard level in the past few days. And this devastating smoke is a result of the extreme forest fire in Canada. 

In 2006, though many Americans experienced the worst exposure to pollution, this time, it's even worse. The Stanford researchers concluded that the average American on Wednesday was exposed to 27.5 micrograms per cubic meter of small particles carried within the huge waves of smoke. 

This is the highest average pollution experienced by the US since the wildfires that broke out in a few Western states in September 2020. 

But, What Does New York's Air Pollution Crisis Mean?

Why Are Masks Back In NYC

This atmospheric battleground has left New York City to suffer. These tiny flecks of soot, dust and other burned debris, known as PM2.5, are seen to bury deep in the lungs when inhaled and cause various health conditions and can even lead to death. 

The skies in New York went from being clear to becoming yellowish-orange color. Schools, playgrounds and other outdoor activities all shut down, and New Yorkers were all wearing masks. The smoke puts the health of vulnerable groups such as pregnant women, the elderly, and those with prior medical conditions at risk. 

Locals experienced 100 micrograms of particulate matter. Health officials urge residents to use air purifiers, wear high-quality N95 masks and keep their windows closed. 

Francesca Dominici, an expert in air pollution and climate at Harvard University, expects a rise in hospitalizations from cardiovascular and respiratory problems triggered by the smoke.

I hope people take this event as an opportunity to act on climate change and take this as a wake-up call. For 3 years, we could not step out due to Covid, and now due to excessive air pollution and the far-reaching consequences of environmental disasters, everyone is forced to stay put. We need to ACT NOW.

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