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Why is New York City’s air so orange?

New York City is currently shrouded in thick, orange smog, with stage performances cancelled and sports games postponed. It is the result of Canadian wildfires that have worsened due to the climate crisis.

Tens of millions are under air quality alert in the US, as smoke from Canadian wildfires travels southward and covers New York City.

The smog will persist for at least several days, leaving city goers in an orange, unhealthy haze of smoke and pollution. New York City now has the worst quality air in the world and many live events and sports games have been postponed. Jodie Comer had to stop her stage performance mid-show, saying that she ‘couldn’t breathe.’

Airports across the east coast have been dealing with delays due to limited visibility, and the US Federal Aviation Administration paused all flights inbound for New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International Airport. Flights to LaGuardia Airport and Philadelphia International Airport were also suspended.

New Yorkers have been advised to stay inside or wear masks if they must venture out. Exposure to high levels of particle pollution can affect the lungs and heart, and authorities are particularly concerned about young children, older adults, and those living with lung diseases.

Canada’s wildfires have been moving into the US since May, and have affected Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, as well as New York. The smoke is expected to last at least a few days.

Fires raging in Quebec are to blame, which are large in scale and relatively close to Rhode Island. They follow on from wildfires in Nova Scotia. While fires are a common occurrence in Canada, US vice president Kamala Harris tweeted that they’re becoming more intense due to the climate crisis.

Protestors gathered at the White House on Thursday this week to voice their concerns over Biden’s recent Appalachia gas pipeline approval, undeterred by the wildfire smog. Air pollution is so bad that protestors have ordered N95 masks in order to go ahead with the march.

While New York City’s air will eventually clear up and return to normal, wildfires and natural disasters such as this will continue to become more common in the coming years and decades. The climate crisis will cause havoc to our ecosystems and planetary weather patterns that help keep everything balanced.

Unless action is taken, we could see more cities become shrouded in orange smoke more regularly.