|1||Three Rivers, California|
(local time)SEE WORLD AQI RANKING
live AQI index
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Moderate|| 90 US AQI||PM2.5|
|PM2.5|| 30.9 µg/m³|
PM2.5 concentration in Magalia air is currently 3 times above the WHO annual air quality guideline value
|Close your windows to avoid dirty outdoor air|
|Sensitive groups should reduce outdoor exercise|
|Tuesday, Sep 21|
Moderate 73 US AQI
|Wednesday, Sep 22|
Good 36 US AQI
|Thursday, Sep 23|
Good 27 US AQI
|Friday, Sep 24|
Moderate 83 US AQI
Moderate 90 US AQI
|Sunday, Sep 26|
Good 22 US AQI
|Monday, Sep 27|
Good 30 US AQI
|Tuesday, Sep 28|
Moderate 73 US AQI
|Wednesday, Sep 29|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 125 US AQI
|Thursday, Sep 30|
Moderate 99 US AQI
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Magalia is currently undergoing some severe levels of air pollution in mid-August of 2021. Much like the fires that took place in the latter part of 2020, the state of California is once again being subject to high levels of pollution readings from the same causes.
Readings of US AQI present in August (with US AQI being a number aggregated from the various main pollutants found in the air) are figures such as 282, a very high reading that placed Magalia into the very unhealthy rating bracket for the day and time in which it was taken. The PM2.5 count at this particular time was also found to be 23 times above the World Health Organization's (WHO's) recommendation for a safe or acceptable level of exposure.
Other high readings of US AQI present in the same time frame include figures of 165 and 188, along with 208 and 261, all readings that can cause significant harm to the nearby population within Magalia, as well as adjacent cities also being affected. These are due to wildfires once again making their way through many cities and surrounding forested areas in the state of California, causing huge amounts of damage to the environment as well as the health of those living in the immediate vicinity. Even those who live great distances away can also be affected, due to pollution's ability to travel many miles from its original source.
Besides the aforementioned wildfires causing the heightened levels of air pollution, there are still many other causes of pollution present that can aid in raising the ambient pollution levels. With any amount of anthropogenic or industrial activity taking place, there also comes related polluting sources, due to processes such as combustion taking place in many factories, power plants and car engines, giving out their types of chemical pollutants and fine particulate matter.
As mentioned, vehicles would be a contributing factor to rising air pollution levels in Magalia and throughout the whole of California. A variety of these vehicles include ones such as cars and motorbikes, along with heavy freight vehicles used for transporting industrial goods and other produce. These include trucks and lorries, as well as certain buses.
A large number of vehicles in certain areas throughout California still use diesel as their main fuel source and can give out the large number of pollutants that arise from the combustion of fossil fuels. Vehicles also release many tons of microscopic rubber particles, with the gradual wear and tear of tire treads causing this to happen. These rubber particles enter into the air and can cause a multitude of health problems when breathed, as well as falling on topsoil or into bodies of water, causing environmental damage.
As touched upon, smoke from fires remains as the biggest offender in causing air pollution levels to rise, and although they are luckily not a constant occurrence throughout the course of the year, the readings on record in 2020, as well as the ones currently occurring in mid-2021 show that they can cause severe cases of air pollution to take place, being far more dangerous as pollution sources than any of the above-mentioned ones.
Other sources that continuously add to the air pollution levels would be ones such as factories, along with power plants and various industrial sites also contributing, with a large number of them still using fuels such as coal, oil, natural gas and diesel to obtain their energy, all of which are fossil fuels. However, moves are being made to shift towards more sustainable methods of energy production.
The natural topography in the state of California can aid heavily in the issue of high pollution accumulations. With the presence of several different forest fires currently taking place, along with ones from years past, (referring in particular to the 2020 forest fires ravaging much of the state in mid to late 2020), California is subject to higher than normal pollution levels, reaching dangerous PM2.5 and US AQI figures, particularly when all of the correct meteorological and industrial/anthropogenic conditions are met.
PM2.5 refers to particulate matter that is 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter, making it approximately 30 times smaller than a human hair, in width. Due to this size factor (as well as being able to go down to ultrafine sizes many microns smaller), it can penetrate deep into the lungs upon inhalation, causing a whole host of health issues to appear. Furthermore, it can cross into the bloodstream due to its minute size, making it one of the most dangerous pollutants found in the air, both in Magalia and throughout the United States. The small air sacs or alveoli that are involved in the transport of oxygen into the bloodstream can instead allow these minute particles to pass the blood barrier, causing a whole host of health issues, some of which will be discussed in the following questions.
PM2.5 can be comprised of materials such as metals, dust and soot, nitrates and sulfates, as well as other ultrafine materials such silica or gravel dust being part of this collective. Liquids, water vapor, mold spores and fungi, as well as bacteria and other hazardous inorganic materials or microorganisms can all make up the PM2.5 classification, as long as the ultrafine size of 2.5 microns or less is attained.
Besides the large PM2.5 readings on record in times past in Magalia, it also remains that there are many times of the year in which the air quality can see significant improvements. Whilst many months from times past have fallen well within the WHO's target goal for optimal air quality, it is still possible for air pollution to occur within smaller, localized areas, with clouds of haze and smoke, along with fine particles accumulating due to a combination of circumstances, with anthropogenic or human-based activities, as well as industrial activity meeting with the perfect weather conditions for pollution build-up.
This can result in situations whereby pollution can accumulate over several days or weeks before it is blown away by prevailing winds, with rain being another pertinent factor in cleaning the air of pollutants, although of note is that strong winds are the most efficient and prominent way in which pollution can be removed from the air.
Rain does have a cleansing effect, but mostly towards bigger or more coarse particles (PM10 and above), tamping down these larger particles that permeate the air. Due to their bigger size, they present much significantly less of a risk to human health when compared to their smaller PM2.5 counterparts. In addition, there are many groups of people within Magalia and much of California that are at far greater risk and more susceptible to the hazardous effects that pollution exposure can bring with it.
These sensitive or at-risk people include those who are more likely to succumb to many ailments brought about by excessive inhalation of chemicals in the air, along with ultrafine particles and other air contaminants. These include groups such as young children or babies, as well as the elderly. The elderly are particularly at risk for health issues from breathing pollutants. For this group, respiratory infections and simple coughs or colds may develop into more life-threatening conditions, especially during the more polluted months of the year. Others that are considered at-risk individuals are those who have a generally poor level of health, which can be compounded by lifestyles such as being sedentary, overweight or from smoking.
Others include those that have preexisting health problems or compromised immune systems. Certain individuals can have a hypersensitive reaction towards many different chemical contaminants or fine particulate matter, causing certain skin reactions or respiratory distress. Besides vulnerable individuals being the groups that should take extra care during periods of high pollution, it is important to note that no people within Magalia or indeed any city worldwide are completely safe from higher levels of pollution exposure, with even young, healthy and fit individuals being prominently affected.
These are cases such as dry coughs, chest pains and subsequent mild infections of the respiratory tract. These will generally disappear, or at least go down in severity when exposure to pollution is ceased. Referring to PM2.5 and its danger to the wellbeing of the public, PM2.5 is any material that is 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter, making it roughly 30 times smaller than the width of a human hair.
Once these ultrafine particles are in the bloodstream, they can cause several serious conditions, ranging from damaged blood vessels, along with increased risks of cancer, particularly of the lungs due to many of these particles that are lodged there. PM2.5 can be comprised of materials such as nitrates and sulfates, metals, dust and soot, along with other finely ground materials such silica or gravel. Liquids such as water vapor, along with mold spores, fungi, bacteria and other hazardous inorganic materials or microorganisms can all make up the PM2.5 collective, depending on the size they reach.
A vast number of these are linked to elevated cancer rates, possessing carcinogenic properties (with soot, in particular, being one of the more prominent ones, constituted mainly from black carbon). This is released in large amounts from fires, along with factories and industrial processes. Car engines also put these out from the combustion process that takes place within their engines, releasing them into the atmosphere via their exhaust pipes. Because of the prevalence of its release from wildfires, black carbon presents a significant hazard to the health of those living in Magalia during bouts of high pollution caused by fires.
Regarding skin conditions related to pollution exposure, ones such as acne, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis as well as other rashes such as eczema can also present themselves during periods of high pollution levels, due largely to ultrafine particles clogging the skin pores, as well as irritation to the skin being incurred from certain chemical pollutants.
Ischemic heart disease takes place when the tissue of the heart starts to sustain cell death due to an inadequate supply of oxygen reaching it. Rates of heart attacks will also rise alongside the aforementioned cardiovascular issue, along with the chance of strokes, arrhythmias, nausea and headaches, as well as death, with many instances of premature death being directly linked to high pollution exposure.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is prevalent amongst communities affected by high levels of pollution. COPD is a blanket term that covers many different respiratory ailments. Among them are ones such as bronchitis, pneumonia, aggravated forms of asthma, as well as emphysema and any condition that reduces full lung function. In the more long term or chronic cases when an individual is exposed over many months or even years (particularly if they live near areas of higher pollution such as busy roads or industrial sites), conditions such as ischemic heart disease start to present themselves, especially so amongst the more vulnerable members of the population.
Because of this, during periods of elevated pollution levels, preventative measures should be put into place in order to avoid any possible damage to one’s health. These measures include ones such as avoiding outdoor activities and exercise, in particular outdoor exercise such as jogging, which raises the heart rate, increasing respiration along with the number of pollutants breathed. The wearing of fine particle filtering masks is also highly recommended, especially when outdoor activity cannot be avoided. Doors and windows should be closed to prevent the ingress of polluted air, causing indoor air pollution levels to rise to potentially dangerous levels. Air purifiers can also be run if they are available as they have a salient effect on reducing indoor air pollution build-ups, thus decreasing the ill health effects that can be sustained from excessive pollution exposure.
In regards to the air quality records that were taken throughout 2020, it can be seen that Magalia was also subject once again to severe spikes in air pollution due to the wildfires that ravaged vast swathes of forest land throughout the state of California, causing many of the cities to come in amongst Americas most polluted, as well as ranking poorly on the global circuit. Extreme cases of forest fires can cause pollution levels to get so bad that a city that otherwise sees a considerably better level of air quality through much of the year can place extremely high on the list of the worlds most polluted cities (with Magalia coming in at 957th place out of all cities ranked worldwide in 2020, a particularly poor placing, largely thanks to the pollution levels on record in the latter part of the year).
Whilst these readings are not truly indicative of when Magalia will be at its most highly polluted, they can be used as reference points as to when 2020 had the most severe levels of air pollution, along with when forest fires are most likely to take place and thus heavily pollute the air, as is also being seen in August of 2021, as mentioned above.
Looking at the most polluted months from 2020, it can be seen that August through to December had the highest levels of PM2.5 present, with a similar situation to 2021 occurring, albeit with the more extreme readings being taken in August. The readings were 38 μg/m³, 73.8 μg/m³, 22.1 μg/m³, 15.2 μg/m³ and 18.2 μg/m³ respectively from August through to December. This made September the most heavily polluted month of 2020 with its reading of 73.8 μg/m³, followed closely by August at 38 μg/m³.
Despite having had many months with dangerous levels of air pollution present, Magalia also had many months of its year come in with extremely good levels of air quality, showing that in the absence of forest fires, Magalia is a very clean place to live, in regards to its air purity. The months of January through to July all came in within the WHO's target goal, with the months of May and June having the cleanest readings, at 2.9 μg/m³ and 3.8 μg/m³ respectively. This was a re-occurring theme in many cities throughout California, with those two months having the best level of air cleanliness present.