As wildfires become more frequent and intense because of climate change an increasing number of us are feeling the effects of poor air quality. Poor air quality due to fires, as well as air pollution in general, is one of the largest threats to human health and exacerbates many other existing medical issues.
“There’s a way to measure this pollution and how it changes on a daily basis and there are precautions that people can take, but I think it’s just this lack of awareness about both the problem and the precautions people can take.”
While Leber said that these precautions will help, we shouldn’t have to endure so many poor air quality days. She said we need systematic action to address climate change and protect vulnerable communities, to get to the root of the issue.
“It’s important we don’t lose sight that this is also a problem that we have to address through societal action; it’s not just about individual behaviors,” said Leber. “To really address air pollution, more broadly, it’s not enough to put on a mask and turn on your air filter. It requires a bigger change. That means addressing climate change.”
To double-check the air quality in your local community, go to the EPA’s AirNow website
. For more info about AQI and how to protect yourself read Leber’s story here. — Abbie Veitch