On Tuesday, June 6, the people of New York woke up to an orange sky and thick mist, making it impossible to view from the top of the buildings. The city became for a few hours the most polluted in the world, surpassing New Delhi. According to the Swiss institute IQAir, the index has exceeded the threshold of 200 for some time, which amounts to "very unhealthy" air.
This is a direct result of the current fires in Canada. For more than a month, the country has been facing forest fires of unprecedented magnitude, especially in Quebec, a few kilometers from the American border. 214 fires are still active, including 93 out of control according to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
A passenger wears a mask on the Staten Island ferry, New York, June 6, 2023. ED JONES / AFP
These fumes from the fires made the air toxic in New York. Authorities have even advised at-risk people to stay home and protect their airways with a mask. "If you are a New Yorker with heart or respiratory problems, be careful when you are outdoors," "and know how to limit outdoor activities today to what is absolutely necessary," they warned on Twitter.
Times Square in Manhattan, June 6, 2023. STAFF / REUTERS
The "Big Apple" passed behind the Indian capital New Delhi soon after.
View from the Bushwick neighborhood on a clear day on May 23, 2022 (top) and shrouded in haze from Canadian wildfire smoke (bottom), in Brooklyn, New York, June 6, 2023. STAFF / REUTERS