|3||Osorno, Los Lagos|
|5||Quilicura, Santiago Metropolitan|
|8||Puerto Montt, Los Lagos|
|9||Talagante, Santiago Metropolitan|
|10||La Pintana, Santiago Metropolitan|
(local time)SEE WORLD AQI RANKING
live AQI index
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Good|| 2 US AQI||O3|
|Open your windows to bring clean, fresh air indoors|
|Enjoy outdoor activities|
|Friday, May 20|
Moderate 66 US AQI
|Saturday, May 21|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 142 US AQI
|Sunday, May 22|
Moderate 88 US AQI
|Monday, May 23|
Moderate 73 US AQI
Good 2 US AQI
|Wednesday, May 25|
Good 28 US AQI
|Thursday, May 26|
Good 39 US AQI
|Friday, May 27|
Good 37 US AQI
|Saturday, May 28|
Moderate 52 US AQI
|Sunday, May 29|
Good 40 US AQI
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San Fernando is the capital of the province of Colchagua, in central Chile, and the second most populated urban centre of the O'Higgins Region. According to a census conducted in 2017, San Fernando had an estimated population of approximately 74,000 people.
Towards the end of 2021, San Fernando was experiencing a period of “Moderate” air quality with a US AQI reading of 57. This United States Air Quality Index number is calculated using the levels of six of the most prolific air pollutants, such as nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, ozone, carbon monoxide and both sizes of particulate matter, which are PM2.5 and PM10. It can then be used as the metric when comparing air quality in other cities around the world. If data is unavailable for all 6 pollutants, a figure can still be calculated by using what figures there are. For San Fernando, the recorded pollutants were PM2.5 - 15 µg/m³ and PM10 - 42 µg/m³.
This level of PM2.5 is just one and a half times the recommended safe level of 10 µg/m³ as suggested by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as being an acceptable level. Although no amount of air pollution is considered to be safe.
When the level of air pollution is “Moderate” the given advice would be to remain indoors as much as possible, closing all doors and windows to prevent the ingress of more polluted air. Those who are more sensitive to poor air quality should reduce the amount of time spent outside and wear a good quality mask if this is unavoidable. There is a downloadable app from AirVisual.com which is suitable for all operating systems which gives the latest information regarding air quality in real-time.
Air quality is very volatile as it can easily be affected by many things and is therefore very difficult to predict. Looking back at the 2020 figures released by IQAir.com, it can easily be seen that air quality did indeed vary throughout the year. During the months of November, December and January, San Fernando achieved the target figure of 10 µg/m³ or less. The respective readings were 10.0, 8.7 and 8.3 µg/m³. February and March, together with October saw “Good” air quality with readings between 10.1 and 12.0 µg/m³. April and May with July, August and September saw “Moderate” air quality with figures ranging from 12.1 to 35.4 µg/m³. The month of June saw the dirtiest air when it was classified as being “Unhealthy for sensitive groups”. The reading was 37.6 µg/m³.
Records pertaining to air quality have been kept since 2017 when a figure of 18.1 µg/m³ was recorded. A slight improvement was seen the following year with a 15.3 µg/m³ figure. This downward trend was not to continue as the figure for 2019 was 21.0 µg/m³. However, in 2020 the level was similar to the two earlier years with a recorded level of 17.7 µg/m³.
This was to be expected because it may have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as many vehicles were no longer in daily use because the offices were closed, in an attempt to halt the spread of the virus. Many factories and non-essential production units were also required to close which removed their emissions from the atmosphere, albeit on a temporary basis. Elsewhere cities reported a much better quality of air due to the general lack of traffic pollution due to the pandemic.
Regarding the most polluting activity in the air, at the national level the use of firewood for heating (32.7%), transportation (30.5%) and industries (28.1%) stand out.
Houses tend to be poorly insulated, and people have no money to improve the buildings and many inhabitants of Chile’s icy south heat with green firewood which is not fit for burning and pollutes the air, because it is simply the cheapest.
The growth of air pollution in Chile stems from both increased industrialization and environmental factors that continue to affect the region’s climate and are critical to the country’s health.
As an industrial revolution booms in Chile, the country’s air is flooded with toxic emissions. Cities face the worst of the pollution, as factories are increasing production and urban centres are growing. The main contributors towards the accumulation of PM2.5 are cars, buses and trucks, thermoelectric power plants, boilers, industrial processes, foundries, metallurgic processes, biomass combustion, firewood heating, agricultural burning, and ammonium emissions from agricultural processes, all a result of increased industrialization in Chile’s main cities.
The use of firewood to heat homes releases toxic fumes that affect people's health. Chile is saying goodbye to old wood heaters as part of a strategy to tackle one of its biggest environmental challenges: air pollution. Firewood produces up to 94 per cent of fine particle emissions (PM2.5) in some Chilean cities, according to the Ministry of the Environment. But economic hurdles are preventing many homes from switching to cleaner energy sources or replacing the heaters and stoves they've had for the past 30 years. Old stoves generate twice the toxic emissions of wood pellet heaters and three times that of paraffin heaters, according to calculations by the Chilean Ministry of the Environment.
In 2011, 10 million people of a total population of 17 million were exposed to fine dust particulates way above the permitted limit. These tiny particles can travel through the respiratory tract into the lungs, causing coughing, sneezing and shortness of breath. Long-term exposure to such fine particulates is linked to higher rates of chronic bronchitis, reduced lung functions, increased risk of heart attacks and other diseases.
More than 150 million people in Latin America live in cities that exceed the WHO Air Quality Guidelines.
Exposure to high levels of air pollution can cause a variety of adverse health outcomes: it increases the risk of respiratory infections, heart disease, strokes, and lung cancer, which affect the vulnerable population in a greater proportion, children, older adults and women.