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Climate

15 Eye-Watering Numbers from the East Coast Smoke Crisis

Let’s put this into context.

New York City.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

The East Coast just inhaled the worst air pollution in a generation — and maybe since well before.

Here are some astonishing numbers that put the haze that blanketed the eastern United States into context:

128,000,000: The rough number of Americans who had an air quality alert on Wednesday night.

465: New York City’s record-setting AQI on Wednesday, June 7, by The New York Times measure.

377: The average AQI in New York on Wednesday.

39: New York’s average AQI on June 7 of last year.

320: The average AQI of New Delhi, India, in November 2022 — one of the city’s best Novembers in years.

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  • 314: D.C.’s AQI on Thursday morning.

    438: The AQI in Syracuse at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

    447: Philadelphia’s AQI on Wednesday night.

    1,920: The number of public schools between D.C., Philadelphia, and New York City that canceled all outdoor activities on Wednesday and Thursday.

    4: The number of professional sports games that have been canceled due to air pollution.

    6 (or 7): How many cigarettes that spending 24 hours outside in New York City mid-week is equivalent to, depending on the source.

    27.5: The micrograms of pollutant per one cubic meter of air across the United States on Wednesday, making it the worst wildfire pollution day in American history.

    9,353,780: The number of Canadian acres that have burned this year due to wildfires.

    1,715: The total number of delays from Wednesday through 3 p.m. Thursday at LaGuardia, Newark, and Philadelphia airports (according to FlightAware).

    17% to 26%: The portion of the Black-white earnings gap attributable to disparities in air pollution exposure.

    Editor’s note: This article was updated after New York City revised its AQI record.


    Read more about the wildfire smoke:

    Your Plants Are Going to Be Okay.

    Why Are the Canadian Wildfires So Bad This Year?

    How to Stay Safe from Wildfire Smoke Indoors

    Wildfire Smoke Is a Wheezy Throwback for New York City

    Wednesday Was the Worst Day for Wildfire Pollution in U.S. History

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    Will Kubzansky profile image

    Will Kubzansky

    Will is an intern at Heatmap from Washington, D.C. He is also the editor-in-chief of the Brown Daily Herald. Previously, he interned at the Wisconsin State Journal and National Journal.

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