Golden has the eighth worst air quality in Canada, according to the website iqair.com.
Coming in at No. 1 is Kamloops, with an air quality index of 304. The higher the score, the greater level of air pollution there is and, of course, the greater the health concern. Anything below 50 is good air, anything above 300 is bad. Very bad.
Golden is predicted to have unhealthy air quality over the next few days, as smoke continues to dominate the weather in the area.
Over the last week, according to IQair.com, Golden has been hovering around 193 on the AQI scale.
The scale lists Dubai, UAE as the worst air quality and pollution city in the world on average, with a US AQI of 172. Most cities and towns in the B.C. interior are topping that.
Rounding out the top-10 in B.C.:
2 – Chase (259);
3 – Kelowna (253);
4 – Regional District of Central Kootenay (Nelson area) (249);
5 – Vernon (239);
6 – Salmon Arm (220);
7 – Lumby (207);
8 – Golden (193);
9 – Kelowna College (UBCO) – (169);
10 – Coldstream (163).
The US AQI tells you how clean or polluted your air is, and what associated health effects might be a concern for you. The AQI focuses on health effects you may experience within a few hours or days after breathing polluted air.
Golden’s air quality is in the “unhealthy” category according the US AQI, which ranges from 151 to 200, meaning that Golden is bordering on “very unhealthy”.
Health recommendations for dealing with the smoky air is to wear a mask outdoors, close windows to avoid dirty air indoors, avoid outdoor exercise and run an air purifier.
On July 29, the PM2.5 reading in Golden was 146.7, which measures tiny particles in the air that act as pollutants.
The Canadian Ambient Air Quality Annual Standard for PM2.5 is a 10.0 or lower per year, and 28 or lower over a 24 hour period.
Western Canada has some of the world’s worst air quality right now, with the Okanagan registering PM2.5 levels almost 40 times the WHO exposure recommendation in places like Castlegar as wildfires rage on.
Smoky air is expected to continue over the next week, with Environment Canada maintaining their smoky skies bulletin over the next few days.
Rain in the forecast early next week may help dissipate some of the smoke.