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|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Good|| 29 US AQI||PM2.5|
PM2.5 concentration in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is currently 1.4 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value
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|Monday, Sep 25|
Good 29 AQI US
|Tuesday, Sep 26|
Good 24 AQI US
Good 29 AQI US
|Thursday, Sep 28|
Good 29 AQI US
|Friday, Sep 29|
Good 28 AQI US
|Saturday, Sep 30|
Good 32 AQI US
|Sunday, Oct 1|
Good 35 AQI US
|Monday, Oct 2|
Moderate 54 AQI US
|Tuesday, Oct 3|
Moderate 58 AQI US
|Wednesday, Oct 4|
Moderate 58 AQI US
|Thursday, Oct 5|
Moderate 57 AQI US
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Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, otherwise known as Las Palmas for short, is a city located in the Gran Canaria island, which itself is part of the Canary Islands, a Spanish archipelago located in the Atlantic Ocean, some 100km to the west of Morocco. As the capital city of Gran Canaria, Las Palmas is subject to the highest level of pollution within the island, with numerous different sources all combining to form the elevated numbers seen on record.
In late May of 2021, Las Palmas was seen with a US AQI reading of 74, placing it into the higher end of the ‘moderate’ pollutions rating bracket. This rating is color coded as yellow, as per all the maps and air quality graphs that can be found throughout the IQAir website, for ease of quick navigation and determining how badly polluted a city currently is. In order to attain this moderate ranking in the US AQI level, the reading must come in between 51 to 100. This indicates that for the time in which this reading of 74 is taken, whilst the air quality was not overtly terrible by any means, it could also cause some mild problems for sensitive individuals, although the general public may remain unaffected by such readings.
Those who fall into the vulnerable bracket include young children and babies, both of whom are highly susceptible to the damaging effects that chemical pollutants and fine particles can bring, either when inhaled or when said pollutants come into contact with skin or exposed mucous membranes such as the eyes, ears, nose and mouth. Other groups include the elderly, along with those who have pre-existing health conditions or compromised immune systems, as well as pregnant women. The unborn babies can suffer from severe effects when the mother is overexposed to polluted, with resulting disruption to the nervous system (in more serious cases) manifesting itself as possible cognitive or physical defects later in life.
Such individuals should take care to ensure that they avoid outdoor activity during bouts of high pollution, as well as wearing fine particle filtering masks if such outdoor movement is unavoidable. Looking at some other readings of US AQI as taken over both April and May of 2021, it can be seen that readings as low as 2 and 22 were present, putting those particular days into the ‘good’ air quality ratings bracket, color coded as green and requiring a reading of anywhere between 0 to 50 to be classified as such.
In contrast, other months of the year, particularly ones on record taken over 2020 (which will be discussed in the following questions), came in with significantly elevated levels of pollution. The US AQI reading itself is an aggregate number formed from the calculation of several main air pollutants, the volume on which ends up forming the US AQI number. Whilst PM2.5 is part of this aggregated number; it is also considered as one of the most dangerous forms of pollution and is thus used as a prominent measure of air pollution in its own right.
Looking at the pollution readings as taken over 2020, one can see that Las Palmas de Gran Canaria came in with a PM2.5 yearly average reading of 31 μg/m³. This placed it into the ‘moderate’ ratings bracket, which when using the PM2.5 scale, requires its own reading of anywhere between 12.1 to 35.4 μg/m³ to be classified as such, using a different number scale from that of the US AQI rating. This reading placed it in 370th place out of all cities ranked worldwide in 2020, showing just how poor its placing was and indicative that several months of the year came in with pollution levels that far exceeded the yearly average, bringing with them a myriad of health issues as well as environmental damage.
Some of these health issues include ones such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), an umbrella term that includes within it a number of different respiratory related illnesses such as pneumonia and bronchitis, as well as asthma and emphysema. Excessive inhalation of ultrafine (PM2.5) and coarse (PM10) particles can lead to scarring of the lung tissue, along with inflammation or irritation that can cause the lungs to lose their full capacity, as well as making affected individuals more susceptible to the above mentioned ailments.
As touched on briefly, the extremely small size of PM2.5 (which is material that is 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter) can enter deep into the tissue of the lungs upon inhalation, and from there move into the blood stream, causing conditions such as cancer, heart attacks, ischemic heart disease, strokes and even death.
Some of the main pollutants that go into forming the US AQI level include ones such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2). Others include ozone (O3), or smog as it is more commonly known, blanketing the roads and highways of many cities around the world, particularly during periods of higher sunshine. Ozone is formed from the various oxides of nitrogen (NOx), along with other gases or chemical pollutants, being subject to solar radiation and undergoing a chemical reaction to create ozone.
Observing the air quality collected over the year of 2020, it can be seen that the polluted months were indeed sporadically placed throughout the year. The months of February, May, June and August all came in with the highest readings, with respective PM2.5 figures of 44 μg/m³, 67.6 μg/m³, 52.6 μg/m³ and 96.5 μg/m³. This made August the most polluted month of the year by a significant amount, placing it well inside the ‘unhealthy’ ratings bracket (55.5 to 150.4 μg/m³ required).
Whilst there was no clear cut period of pollution throughout the year of 2020 in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, which many cities around the world see (typically with the winter months holding the highest levels of pollution whilst the mid-months of the year come in cleaner), it did however have some months with extremely good air quality.
The months of March, July, September and October all came in with the best PM2.5 levels, sitting at 13 μg/m³, 12.1 μg/m³, 8.3 μg/m³ and 10.1 μg/m³ respectively. This made September the cleanest month of the year, and the only time in which the PM2.5 level fell below the world health organization's (WHO's) target goal for the best quality of air at 10 μg/m³ or less.