City and State Agencies Share Information Regarding Wildfire Air Quality Issues

Smoke and pollution from Canadian wildfires over Times Square on June 7, 2023. Image Credit: Mike Groll/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul

On June 7, 2023, Mayor Eric Adams and city officials discussed the city’s ongoing air quality issues as a result of smoke pollution from wildfires in Canada that has drifted down over much of the East Coast and Midwest. An air quality health advisory has been issued for today for the New York City Metro area by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. 

All New Yorkers are advised to limit outdoor activity and wear a high-quality mask like an N95 or KN95 while outdoors. Close all windows and doors, and use air purifiers at home if available. Vulnerable populations, including children, the elderly, and people with health conditions including respiratory or heart conditions should exercise additional caution. New Yorkers are advised to seek medical attention if experiencing symptoms including headaches, irritated eyes and sinuses, fatigue, chest pains, asthma attacks, difficulty breathing and increased coughing. 

The New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection reminded New Yorkers that under New York City’s Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law, covered employees can use safe and sick leave for the care and treatment of themselves or a family member or request a temporary schedule change. For more information, click here

Public schools were already closed for students for school-based staff development, but school staff will work remotely. 

Alternate side parking has been suspended but meters are in effect. 

Statewide, Governor Kathy Hochul announced yesterday that one million N95 masks will be made available statewide for New Yorkers, including 400,000 masks for public distribution at state-owned facilities in the New York City area. The facilities Grand Central, Penn Station, Fulton Center, Jamaica Station, the Main Concourse of Port Authority, South Wing, the Denny Farrell Riverbank State Park in Harlem, and the Roberto Clemente State Park in the Bronx. 

To check the current air quality for your area visit The New York State Air Quality Hotline can be reached at (800) 535-1345. 

Governor Hochul stated, “Every part of New York State has experienced unhealthy air quality in the last 24 hours as a result of Canadian wildfires, and our number one priority right now is keeping New Yorkers safe. Prolonged exposure to this harmful air will cause negative health impacts, which is why we’re making high-quality masks available at high-traffic areas across New York. I am encouraging everyone in impacted regions across the state to stay indoors and reduce your exposure to this harmful smoke until air quality improves.”

By: Veronica Rose (Veronica is the CityLaw fellow and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2018.)



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