How to monitor your neighborhood’s air quality

Air quality improving through the weekend
Smoke and thick haze blanket the Northeast
Smoke and thick haze blanket the Northeast(Shannon Ortiz)
Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 9:33 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 9, 2023 at 9:38 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The EPA monitors 5 Different types of air pollution, all regulated by the Clean Air Act

Read more about this here: AirNOW

  • ground-level ozone
  • particle pollution (also known as particulate matter, including PM2.5 and PM10)
  • carbon monoxide
  • sulfur dioxide
  • nitrogen dioxide

OZONE used to be our main concern. It’s a molecule created when heat and sun combine to react with the byproducts of burning fossil fuel. A combination of regulation (The Clean Air Act) and increased efficiency and cleanliness of factories, power plants, and automobiles has rendered our low air quality days due to ozone to a minimum.

But smoke is a different story. It’s called PM (particulate matter). When we look at smoke concentrations in the atmosphere, we are literally looking at how much STUFF there is. Right now, it’s soot from the Wildfires burning in Canada.

Click This link. It’s a good spot for monitoring air quality on days like this.

Thursday, June 8th at 9:30 am the AQI (Air Quality Index) showed this:

Code yellow (moderate) for RVA but "VERY UNHEALTHY" readings near DC
Code yellow (moderate) for RVA but "VERY UNHEALTHY" readings near DC(EPA)

At code yellow (moderate) you can safely go outside and work or play. This is where we stand as of Friday, June 9th.

Thursday, we reached Code Red levels. When that happens, you should take precautions. Especially if you have breathing issues. The EPA Says during a code red, “Some members of the general public may experience health effects; members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects.”

Code Red expected in Richmond Today
Code Red expected in Richmond Today(epa)

Decisions about cancelling activities outdoors are a personal decision but keeping an eye on the latest data can help.