The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Wildfires Choke Washington State's Air, Delaying Flights and Trash Collection
The city of Spokane in Eastern Washington had the worst air quality in the country Monday morning, according to measurements by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), The Spokesman-Review reported.
The EPA measured the city's air as 382 on a 500 point scale air quality index scale 6 a.m. Monday, clearly in the worst, "hazardous" air pollution category. The city has delayed trash collection in some areas till Tuesday to limit the time city employees spend outdoors.
At 257, the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency 24-hour average air quality index Sunday was the worst it has been since record-keeping began in 1999, surpassing last year's record set Sept. 7.
"Wildfire smoke has the potential to significantly impact air quality, as we've seen over the past few summers," Spokane Clean Air Executive Director Julie Oliver said in a statement reported by Newsweek. "Smoke is a mix of gases and fine particles. The severity of its impact depends on weather patterns. If the air isn't moving, the concentration of fine particles increases."
In addition to delaying trash pick-up, the polluted air has also brought summer activities to a stand-still, closing the city's athletic fields, aquatic centers and park attractions and prompting the cancellation of sports camps and the Riverfront Eats lunch-time food truck event scheduled for Tuesday, The Spokesman-Review reported.
Across the mountains, in Western Washington, air quality was also impacted, with some cities and towns around Puget Sound, such as Tacoma, Auburn and Port Angeles, reporting air quality levels of "very unhealthy," while other sites had air deemed either "unhealthy" or "unhealthy for sensitive groups," KOMO News reported.
The smoke and haze was so thick they delayed flights at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Newsweek reported.
"Travelers be aware that smoke in the air is causing delays in flight traffic at Sea-Tac due to low visibility. Check ahead with your airlines for potential delays," the airport tweeted Sunday.
The smoke in Western Washington is from fires in British Columbia, The Seattle Times reported, but the air will shift Tuesday to bring more smoke from fires in Eastern Washington.
The region can expect some relief when marine air blows in mid-week.
"We're going to keep some amount of smoke in the Seattle area through Wednesday," National Weather Service meteorologist Andy Haner told The Seattle Times.
This is the second bout of smoke pollution for the state within a week's time, as air quality last week in Seattle was worse than in Beijing on Wednesday, Aug. 15, King5 News reported.
Thirteen large fires have burned more than 211 square miles in Washington state this year, and the Seattle area is experiencing one of its hottest, driest summers on record, according to The Seattle Times.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By George Citroner
The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion and the World Health Organization currently recommend either 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise (walking, gardening, doing household chores) or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise (running, cycling, swimming) every week.
But there's little research looking at the benefits, if any, of exercising less than the 75 minute minimum.
It seems the reality of the climate crisis is too much for the Federal Reserve to ignore anymore.
For 21 years, Doug Distaso served his country in the United States Air Force.
He commanded joint aviation, maintenance, and support personnel globally and served as a primary legislative affairs lead for two U.S. Special Operations Command leaders.
But after an Air Force plane accident left him with a traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and chronic pain, Distaso was placed on more than a dozen prescription medications by doctors at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
By Bailey Hopp
If you had to choose a diamond for your engagement ring from below or above the ground, which would you pick … and why would you pick it? This is the main question consumers are facing when picking out their diamond engagement ring today. With a dramatic increase in demand for conflict-free lab-grown diamonds, the diamond industry is shifting right before our eyes.
The scourge of plastic waste that washes up on once-pristine beaches and finds its way into the middle of the ocean often starts on land, is dumped in rivers and canals, and gets carried out to sea. At the current rate, marine plastic is predicted to outweigh all the fish in the seas by 2050, according to Silicon Canals.
By Julia Conley
Joined by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Friday night, Sen. Bernie Sanders held the largest rally of any 2020 Democratic presidential candidate to date in Iowa, drawing more than 2,400 people to Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs.