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|2||Fort Thompson, South Dakota|
|4||Santa Ana, California|
(local time)SEE WORLD AQI RANKING
live AQI index
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Good|| 4 US AQI||PM2.5|
PM2.5 concentration in Wichita air currently meets the WHO annual air quality guideline value
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|Saturday, Dec 2|
Good 40 AQI US
|Sunday, Dec 3|
Good 9 AQI US
|Monday, Dec 4|
Good 9 AQI US
Good 4 AQI US
|Wednesday, Dec 6|
Good 14 AQI US
|Thursday, Dec 7|
Good 16 AQI US
|Friday, Dec 8|
Good 18 AQI US
|Saturday, Dec 9|
Good 8 AQI US
|Sunday, Dec 10|
Good 4 AQI US
|Monday, Dec 11|
Good 4 AQI US
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Wichita is a city situated in the state of Kansas, being the largest city in the state with an estimated population of some 389 thousand inhabitants. It has a history going back many years as a destination for people transporting cattle and other livestock, earning it the nickname of ‘Cowtown’. Today it still sees itself as a place of great activity, being considered as the cultural heart of Kansas, having a large presence in media, trade, higher education facilities as well as being home to many industrial centers.
With a large amount of its economy based around the manufacturing of goods for both local and international export, as well as a thriving healthcare industry, Wichita can be subject to some less than perfect levels of air quality, as is common in any city in the U.S or indeed the world, when large amounts of human movement and industry occur. Whilst Wichita maintains a fairly respectable quality of air, there are still many factors that cause pollution levels to rise, particularly during certain times of the year.
In 2020, Wichita came in with a PM2.5 reading of 7.4 μg/m³ as its yearly average, a reading that placed it within the World Health Organizations (WHO's) target goal of 10 μg/m³ or less, for the most optimal quality of air (with the closest to 0 being the best). This indicates a good quality of air, although as mentioned there are times where the air pollution sees mild elevations, and thus Wichita could do more to further improve upon its PM2.5 readings. Its yearly reading of 7.4 μg/m³ placed it in 3915th place out of all cities ranked worldwide, and 1103rd place out of all cities ranked in the United States.
Wichita city, and the state of Kansas see many different causes of pollution occurring, even with their respectable readings of air quality present. These can come in many different forms, some of them being seasonal, with both hot and colder months presenting their own unique pollutive issues. On top of this there are also environmental disasters which can see massive spikes in airborne particles and hazardous chemicals.
The main natural (or in some cases manmade) disaster would be that of wildfires, which can cause vast clouds of smoke and haze that can blow over from neighboring cities into Wichita, and vice versa. Fortunately, these are not a year round occurrence and are more responsible for occasional disastrous elevations in pollution when they do happen.
Other more persistent causes of pollution would be that of vehicular emissions, with huge amounts of cars and other smaller personal vehicles on the road at any given time, along with larger heavy duty vehicles such as lorries, trucks and buses. All of these release large amounts of pollution, particularly the larger ones due to their great size and often running on diesel fuel.
Other prominent causes of pollution would be emissions from factories, power plants and other similar industrial sites. These often run on other fossil fuels such as coal, and can also put out large amounts of pollution, as well as effluence related to whatever industrial process may be taking place (as an example, many factories that deal in the use of plastic will inevitably release small amounts of plastic fumes or microscopic plastic particles into the air during the manufacturing or recycling processes). Other sources include construction sites, road repairs or any site that sees that mass disruption or movement of earth, releasing large amounts of fine particulate matter into the air.
Some of the main health risks associated with breathing polluted air in Wichita would be typical of exposure to above mentioned sources of pollution. These would include symptoms or ailments such as rapid aging of the lungs, or scarring and damage to the lung tissue, as well as inflammation of the airways leading to restricted breathing or coughing, along with chest pains and a heightened risk of infections.
Besides reducing full lung function, damage to the lung tissue or respiratory tract can cause an individual to become more susceptible to further illnesses down the line, with ones such as pneumonia, bronchitis, emphysema and asthma all being present, conditions that fall under the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) bracket.
Observing the data collected over the course of 2020, there were several months that stood out as having higher levels of pollution. Of note is that Wichita lacked a distinct time period in which the pollution levels are high for several months in a row, and then lower for the rest of the year, which is oftentimes seen in many seasonal countries (with the colder months often taking the record for PM2.5 elevations due to increased power consumption for heating in homes and businesses, as well as the burning of firewood and other materials).
In Wichita, the times of higher pollution are more sporadic and limited, and to give the example, the most polluted month of the year, April, came in with the highest reading of PM2.5, at 10.7 μg/m³. This placed the month of April into the ‘good’ air quality ratings bracket, which requires a PM2.5 reading of anywhere between 10 to 12 μg/m³, making it the only month of the year to move out of the WHO's target bracket and up into the next pollution level ranking.
Whilst there are no portions of the population that find themselves fully immune to the negative side effects of pollution, with even healthy adults vulnerable to adverse conditions, there are certain groups or demographics that are even more at risk. These include the elderly, young children, pregnant mothers, as well as those with preexisting health conditions or compromised immune systems.
These groups can suffer from a much wider array of health conditions related to excessive pollution exposure (especially for those that live in pollution hotspot areas such as near busy roads or industrial areas), and as such, should do their best to stay up to date on the air pollution levels via air quality maps, available on both the IQAir website as well as the AirVisual app. Preventative measures can also be taken, such as the wearing of high quality particle filtering masks, or avoiding outdoor activity when the air quality index represents a higher level of pollution.