Air quality in New Orleans

Air quality index (AQI) and PM2.5 air pollution in New Orleans

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What is the current weather in New Orleans?

Weather icon
WeatherBroken clouds
Wind11.5 mp/h
Pressure1017 mb

live aqi city ranking

Real-time USA city ranking

#cityUS AQI
1 Weaverville, California


2 Shasta, California


3 Hayfork, California


4 Redding, California


5 Cottonwood, California


6 Westmorland, California


7 Shasta Lake, California


8 Central Valley (historical), California


9 Lakehead-Lakeshore, California


10 Willow Creek, California


(local time)


live New Orleans aqi ranking

Real-time New Orleans air quality ranking

#stationUS AQI
1 City Park


2 624 Ninth Street


3 Garden District


4 Wallace 02


5 Bywater NOLA


6 Xavier University of Louisiana Art Center


7 East Carrollton


8 Marigny-NOLA


(local time)




live AQI index

Human face indicating AQI level


What is the current air quality in New Orleans?

Air pollution levelAir quality indexMain pollutant
Good 3 US AQIPM2.5

PM2.5 concentration in New Orleans air currently meets the WHO annual air quality guideline value

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How to protect from air pollution in New Orleans?

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New Orleans air quality index (AQI) forecast

DayPollution levelWeatherTemperatureWind
Tuesday, Aug 9

Good 9 US AQI

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon86°75.2°
Wind rotating 157 degree

4.5 mp/h

Wednesday, Aug 10

Good 12 US AQI

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon82.4°75.2°
Wind rotating 175 degree

6.7 mp/h

Thursday, Aug 11

Good 10 US AQI

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon82.4°73.4°
Wind rotating 164 degree

8.9 mp/h

Friday, Aug 12

Good 5 US AQI

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon86°75.2°
Wind rotating 200 degree

6.7 mp/h


Good 3 US AQI

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon86°75.2°
Wind rotating 225 degree

6.7 mp/h

Sunday, Aug 14

Good 32 US AQI

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon87.8°75.2°
Wind rotating 223 degree

8.9 mp/h

Monday, Aug 15

Good 33 US AQI

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon91.4°75.2°
Wind rotating 229 degree

8.9 mp/h

Tuesday, Aug 16

Good 27 US AQI

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon87.8°75.2°
Wind rotating 256 degree

6.7 mp/h

Wednesday, Aug 17

Good 22 US AQI

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon89.6°75.2°
Wind rotating 157 degree

11.2 mp/h

Thursday, Aug 18

Good 26 US AQI

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon89.6°77°
Wind rotating 197 degree

6.7 mp/h

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Historic air quality graph for New Orleans

How to best protect from air pollution?

Reduce your air pollution exposure in New Orleans


How bad is the air pollution in New Orleans?

New Orleans is a city located in the American state of Louisiana, next to the Mississippi River. It is counted as the largest city within the state, being home to an estimated 390 thousand people (as of 2019), also serving as a major port city and being both the commercial and economic heart for the entire Gulf Coast region of the United States.

Besides having a significant port area (considered one of the largest and busiest in the world), the city also has a strong presence in industries such as oil refining, petrol and chemical production, and natural gas extraction. Whilst these elements serve as important fixtures for major economic growth and movement, they also have a significant effect on the pollution levels, with New Orleans being subject to some dangerous levels of pollution within condensed areas, with many dangerous chemicals found in the air due to large industrial zones pouring out high amounts of pollutants, some of which will be discussed in short.

In 2020, New Orleans came in with a PM2.5 reading of 9 μg/m³, a reading that placed it in the World Health Organizations (WHO's)’ target bracket, which requires a PM2.5 reading of any number below 10 μg/m³ to be classified as such. This is a fairly respectable reading for a yearly average, however there were a couple of months out of the year that came in with considerably higher readings of PM2.5, showing that the city could still do much to improve its air pollution issues, and reduce the amount of health problems that occur amongst the general population. This reading of 9 μg/m³ placed it in 3115th place out of all cities ranked worldwide, as well as 764th place out of all cities ranked in the United States.

What are some of the main causes of polluted air in New Orleans?

There are a wide variety of different pollution sources present in New Orleans. Looking at some of the more prominent causes, they would count among them ones such as vehicular emissions and fumes, as well as smoke and other air contaminants released from industrial areas or factories, of which New Orleans has a particularly large amount, condensed into smaller areas.

With a population in the hundreds of thousands, there would be countless amounts of vehicles on the road at any given time, all of which would be giving off various polluting chemicals and hazardous fine particulate matter. As well as this, with its large presence in the petrochemical industry, coupled with the extraction and transportation of oil, there would be a large amount of heavy duty vehicles needed to transport these materials (amongst other goods such as food products or other related industrial items).

These heavy duty vehicles, which include among them trucks and lorries, typically put out even greater amounts of pollution due to their immense size and weight, as well as often running on diesel fuel.

In closing, the numerous industrial areas condensed within New Orleans have lead to a large area of land being dubbed as ‘cancer alley’ (an 85 mile stretch of chemical plants along the banks of the Mississippi River, that runs between New Orleans and Baton Rouge), due to the sheer amount of noxious emissions exuding from there, contributing heavily to the pollution count in the city.

These industrial areas often utilize coal as their main fuel source, another contributing factor to the pollution level, as well as these industrial areas releasing their own unique effluence based on whatever chemical materials are being refined or produced.

When is the air quality at its most polluted in New Orleans?

Observing the data collected over the course of 2020, New Orleans showed several months of the year where the PM2.5 count rose somewhat higher than its yearly average. PM2.5 refers to particulate matter that is 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter, sometimes going down to sizes as small as 0.001 microns or less. Due to its immensely small size, it is of great danger to human health when inhaled (as well as being comprised of many different hazardous materials), and as such is used as one of the major components in the calculation of the overall air quality of any given city, state or country.

Some months that came in with elevated PM2.5 readings were fairly spread out through the course of the year, lacking the clear cut time periods of high and low pollution readings that certain cities (particularly seasonal ones) are subject to. The months with higher readings of pollution were April and October, with PM2.5 readings of 11 μg/m³ and 10.8 μg/m³ respectively.

This made April the most polluted month of the year with its reading of 11 μg/m³, a reading that would place it into the ‘good’ pollution rating bracket (10 to 12 μg/m³ required for classification).

Who is most vulnerable to polluted air in New Orleans?

All members of the population are susceptible to elevated levels of pollution, with a myriad of health issues being possible depending on the level of exposure as well as the types of pollutants involved. However, there remain certain groups that are even more at risk due to their health and background. These groups include people such as pregnant women, young children, the elderly, as well as those with compromised immune systems or preexisting health conditions, particularly of the cardiac or pulmonary variety.

What are the main types of pollution found in the air in New Orleans?

With much of its pollution stemming from industrial areas, as well as the ever present vehicle exhaust fumes, New Orleans would have a large amount of pollutants in the air that typically see their release from these sources. These include ones such as black carbon and volatile organic compounds (VOC's), both of which see their release from the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels and organic matter. Some examples of VOC's are chemicals such as formaldehyde, toluene, xylene and methylene chloride.

Another VOC that sees itself released from industrial areas is benzene, which can affect the immune system, red blood cell count and even bone marrow when respired excessively. Others include chemical compounds such as ozone (O3), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2), which see their release from cars and ships in the port (in particular sulfur dioxide from ship exhaust due to the level of sulfur present in heavy fuel oil). Ozone forms from the various oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and other gases being subject to solar radiation, thus converting into ozone, or smog as it is better known when it gathers in large enough accumulations.


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