North American cities top global pollution rankings

Lazy eyes listen


On a list of the world’s most polluted cities compiled by IQAir on Friday, Toronto and New York were top and second. With wildfires raging in Canada, choking haze has spread to major American cities.

For nearly a month, more than 500 fires have raged across numerous Canadian provinces, sending an orange-brown smoke across eastern Canada as far as the Midwest and Northeast of the United States.

Because of the high concentration of particulate matter in the smoke, public health officials have distributed masks and advised people to stay indoors. According to CNN, more than 120 million Americans, or one-third of the population, were under some type of air quality alert as of Friday.

According to a live index compiled by IQAir, a Swiss air filtration firm, Toronto had the poorest air quality of any city in the world by Friday morning. According to the company’s assessment, Toronto’s air is “unhealthy” for everyone to breathe. New York City and Washington, DC came in second and third, with ratings of 142 and 120, respectively.

According to IQAir, air quality between 100 and 150 is “unhealthy for sensitive groups.”

Montreal, Chicago, and Detroit are also in the top 10, along with places more commonly associated with air pollution, such as Beijing, Hanoi, and Kolkata. Earlier this week, Chicago and Detroit exchanged first and second position until Thursday afternoon, when prevailing winds moved part of the smoke east.

Residents of Ontario, Canada, and the Ohio River Valley, which encompasses New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Tennessee, have reported smelling burning plastic in the air. This occurrence occurs when smoke has been present in the air for so long that the sun’s rays begins to break it down, releasing poisonous benzene and formaldehyde.

The 2023 wildfire season in Canada has been hailed as “unprecedented,” and the worst since records began. While the peak of the wildfire season is generally in mid-July, more emissions have already been released this year than in any other year on record, according to a research released on Tuesday by Copernicus, the European Union’s Earth observation programme.

Trudeau has blamed the fires on climate change, but critics claim that poor forest management and the government’s refusal to engage in controlled burns are the underlying causes of the devastating blazes.