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(local time)SEE WORLD AQI RANKING
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|Air pollution level
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| 44 US AQI
PM2.5 concentration in Omaha is currently 2.2 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value
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|Tuesday, Feb 27
Good 27 AQI US
|Wednesday, Feb 28
Good 26 AQI US
|Thursday, Feb 29
Good 30 AQI US
Good 44 AQI US
|Saturday, Mar 2
Good 46 AQI US
|Sunday, Mar 3
Good 28 AQI US
|Monday, Mar 4
Good 10 AQI US
|Tuesday, Mar 5
Good 9 AQI US
|Wednesday, Mar 6
Good 5 AQI US
|Thursday, Mar 7
Good 4 AQI US
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Omaha is a city located in Nebraska, a state situated in the midwestern region of the United States. It is counted as the largest city in the state, as well as the 40th largest in the entire country, in terms of population, with an estimated count of over 478 thousand inhabitants. The city is home to many large multinational corporation headquarters, as well as having a diversified industry revolving around sectors such as insurance and banking, telecommunications, architecture and transportation. The city has seen its economy grow even further in the last 30 years, being touted as a major hub for tech companies and other IT based startups.
Whilst these are all great factors in increasing the quality of life for its citizens, as well as improving its general infrastructure, they can also have a negative side effect of decreasing the quality of air, as with the increased movement of people and higher energy consumption, often comes a larger output of pollution from a multitude of sources.
In 2020, Omaha was recorded as having a PM2.5 yearly average of 9.5 μg/m³, a reading that placed it into the World Health Organizations (WHO's) target goal of 10 μg/m³ or less, for the best quality of air, with the closest to 0 being the most optimal. Whilst this is a respectable reading of air quality, there are many months where the PM2.5 count rises considerably, and as such Omaha could still do much to improve the quality of its air. Its PM2.5 reading of 9.5 μg/m³ placed it in 2831st place out of all cities ranked worldwide, as well as 649th place out of all cities ranked in America.
Omaha sees itself subject to several prominent sources of air pollution, all of which act together to create a further compounded situation, explaining the higher readings that are seen during certain months of the year, which will be explained in further detail. Meteorological conditions can add to this issue, with extremely dry weather conditions coupled with large amounts of sunlight and heat allowing the creation of secondary pollutants to be formed, as well large amounts of dust and particulate matter to build up.
In regards to the main causes, vehicles would be one of the largest instigators of air pollution, not just in Omaha but throughout nearly all cities worldwide. At any given time, there would be countless numbers of personal vehicle such as cars or motorbikes on the road, which would be putting out high volumes of noxious chemical compounds and harmful particulate matter, with even excess tire usage leading to large volumes of finely ground rubber particles entering the atmosphere.
Other sources of air pollution in Omaha would include emissions from power plants, factories, and other related industrial areas. The growing number of businesses as well as population size would demand a greater amount of energy, thus forcing power plants to go through larger amounts of fossil fuels such as coal to provide said energy, which leads to a higher pollutive output.
Other sources worth mentioning are ones such as construction sites, road repairs (both of which can leak large amounts of finely ground dust and heavy metals) as well as the occasional forest fires that can occur throughout the state, affecting nearby cities with their pervasive clouds of smoke that can drift across to areas many miles away from their sites of origin.
With a large amount of pollution coming from both combustion sites (vehicle engines, factories and power plant boilers) as well as fine particulate matter sources (sandstorms, construction areas or poorly maintained roads), there are subsequently a number of closely related pollutants in the air.
These include ones such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2), both of which are released from vehicles primarily, as well as other combustion sources. Nitrogen dioxide is the largest offender in its release from vehicles, often being found in high concentrations over areas that see a large volume of traffic. Ozone (O3) is another pollutant that is of significant concern, typically formed when the various oxides of nitrogen (NOx) found in the air are subject to solar radiation, thus converting to ozone.
Whilst it is a vital part of the upper atmosphere, it can cause a great deal of damage to individuals when it accumulates at ground level, often referred to as smog when it gathers in large amounts. Of note is that many sources of pollution such as exhaust fumes or gas vapors can also contribute to the creation of ozone. Other pollutants include ones such as finely ground silica or gravel dust, as well as black carbon and volatile organic compounds (VOC's).
Whilst Omaha currently maintains a good overall quality of air, it is of great importance to note that being subject to higher levels of pollution during periods of worsened air quality, as well as being stuck in pollution hotspots such as near busy roads or industrial areas, can carry with it a risk of developing a wide range of health symptoms.
These include ones such as dry coughs and chest pain, as well as irritation to the mucous membranes, with the eyes, ears and mouth all being affected, as well as the skin being subject to aggravation or possible rash breakouts such as atopic dermatitis or acne. Breathing excessive pollutants can lead to rapid aging of the lung tissue as well as inflammation or scarring of the respiratory tract. Besides raising risks of lung cancer, as well as reducing full lung function, it can make individuals even more prone to developing respiratory ailments such as pneumonia, bronchitis, emphysema and asthma.
Observing the air pollution data taken over the course of 2020, it can be seen that there were a number of months that broke out of the WHO's target goal rating, and up into higher air pollution brackets.
These months were January, April, July and December, which all came in with PM2.5 readings of 11.6 μg/m³, 11.4 μg/m³, 10.1 μg/m³ 12.7 μg/m³ respectively, making December the most polluted month of the year at 12.7 μg/m³ and the only month of the year to break into the ‘moderate’ pollution rating bracket (12.1 to 35.4 μg/m³ required for classification).
In contrast, the cleanest month of the year was February, with a much more respectable reading of 7.1 μg/m³, indicating a time period in which the air would be at its most free from buildups of smoke, haze and other dangerous air contaminants.