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(local time)SEE WORLD AQI RANKING
live AQI index
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Moderate|| 52 US AQI||PM2.5|
PM2.5 concentration in Kansas City is currently 2.5 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value
|Thursday, Sep 28|
Moderate 69 AQI US
|Friday, Sep 29|
Moderate 66 AQI US
|Saturday, Sep 30|
Moderate 54 AQI US
Moderate 52 AQI US
|Monday, Oct 2|
Moderate 53 AQI US
|Tuesday, Oct 3|
Moderate 53 AQI US
|Wednesday, Oct 4|
Moderate 60 AQI US
|Thursday, Oct 5|
Good 19 AQI US
|Friday, Oct 6|
Good 6 AQI US
|Saturday, Oct 7|
Good 6 AQI US
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Kansas City is the largest city in Missouri by population and area. According to the US Census Bureau, the city had an estimated population of almost 500,000 in 2019.
In early 2021, the air quality in Kansas City was classed as “Moderate” with a US AQI reading of 63. This is in line with recommendations from the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Looking back at the latest figures released on the IQAir website, it is seen that Kansas City achieved the WHO target figure of acceptable air quality of less than 10 µg/m³. The figure recorded was 7.2 µg/m³. This target was achieved in every month of 2020 and looking back over the previous years it has kept the standards up since 2017.
The air quality is gradually getting better. In 2017 the figure was 9.1 µg/m³ followed by 8 µg/m³ the following year. In 2019 the number was 7.9 µg/m³ and 2020 saw another improvement with a 7.2 µg/m³ recording.
There is an established "ozone season" for the Kansas City region; April 1st through October 31st every year. Historically, June through August is when most exceedances occur.
The quality of air very often deteriorated during the colder winter months. More energy is required to heat the homes and office space and in some cities, wood-burning stoves are very popular because they are looked on as being trendy.
Atmospheric and weather conditions have a large impact on the levels of pollution in the air that we breathe in. The most common culprits of low-quality air are pollutants such as hydrocarbons and dust.
Hydrocarbons are released from industrial use and automobile exhaust. Dust is stirred up by travel, traffic, and movement. Much of this is what forms smog.
When the temperature drops and cold air enrobes the ground, any warm air is forced to pass over it. In this way, the cold air can form a kind of cap or blanket. Pollutants are not free to escape and disperse in the dense colder air. Cold air is denser and moves slower than warm air. This density means that cold air traps the pollution but also doesn’t whisk it away. Air pollution in winter remains in place for much longer and therefore is breathed in at a higher rate than during the summer.
It is more common for people to leave cars switched on and idling in the winter than in the summer. This is done to defrost a car or to wait for the heater to begin working, so the car is warm for the daily commute.
At the end of January 2019, Kansas City’s ozone pollution or smog had improved significantly and the metro area was now ranked the 62nd most polluted city in the nation, according to the 2018 “State of the Air” report released by the American Lung Association.
The 2018 “State of the Air” report found that there were unhealthy levels of ozone and particulate matter, namely PM2.5 and PM10 and that they were threatening the quality of residents’ health if something was not done to improve it. Across the country, the report found improvement in air quality, but still, more than 4 in 10 Americans, which equates to 133.9 million citizens live in counties that have unhealthy levels of either ozone or particle pollution, where their health is at risk.
Ozone especially harms children, senior citizens and those with asthma and other pre-existing lung diseases. When older adults or children with asthma breathe ozone-polluted air, there is a strong possibility that they’ll end up seeing a doctor, the hospital or the emergency room. Ozone can even shorten life itself.
Particle pollution is made of soot or black carbon (BC) or tiny particles that come from coal-fired power plants, diesel emissions, wildfires and wood-burning devices. These particles are so small that they can lodge deep in the lungs and trigger asthma attacks, heart attacks and strokes, and can even be lethal. Year-round particle pollution levels have dropped thanks to the clean-up of coal-fired power plants and the retirement of old, dirty diesel engines.
Skycast is a daily pollution forecast system for Kansas City and its environs. It predicts air quality based on the current weather and pollution levels. SkyCast uses different colours such as green, yellow, orange and red, to indicate the day's pollution threat.
When the SkyCast for the day indicates orange or red, it's an Ozone Alert day. On these days, ozone concentrations are predicted to reach unhealthy levels. More than half of the emissions that form ground-level ozone come from everyday activities. By reducing or postponing these activities, you can help bring the levels of ozone pollution down.
If there is an Ozone Air Day forecast, try to cut back on or reschedule strenuous outdoor activities. Stay indoors in a well-ventilated or air-conditioned building. If you must be active outdoors, try to schedule activity before 11:00 am or after 8:00 pm, when the levels have subsided.
Driving less will be greatly beneficial so delay unnecessary trips until the ozone alert is over or take public transport or carpool. Walking or cycling would be even better for shorter distances.
It is estimated that around 9 per cent of Kansas’ polluted air is caused by domestic engines from the likes of lawnmowers and leaf-blowers etc. It would be advisable to postpone such work in the garden until the alert is over.
The main effects of air pollution on health range from alterations in lung function, heart problems and other symptoms and complaints to an increase in the number of deaths, hospital admissions and visits to the emergency room, especially due to respiratory and cardiovascular causes.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognise that inhalation of pollutants, especially fine particles such as PM2.5, represents an increased risk of premature death. This important change began with the analysis of the acute, or short-term, effects of increases in air pollution.
The health effects of PM occur at the levels of exposure to which most urban and rural populations in developed and developing countries are currently subjected. Chronic exposure to the particles increases the risk of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, as well as lung cancer. In developing countries, exposure to pollutants from solid fuel combustion in open fires and traditional indoor stoves increases the risk of acute lower respiratory infection and mortality from this cause in young children; Indoor air pollution from solid fuels is also a major risk factor for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer among adults.
Mortality in cities with high levels of pollution is between 15 and 20 per cent higher than that registered in cleaner cities. Even in the EU, the average life expectancy is 8.6 months lower due to exposure to PM2.5 generated by human activities.