A thick toxic coating shrouded the Statue of Liberty and the Big Apple’s skyscrapers in an orange-brown glow, delayed flights and forced the postponement of sporting events. The masks, vestiges of the pandemic, appeared again on the streets. The report from New York.
The air is rarefied, stale, dense and polluted, New Yorkers walk at a slower pace than usual, worried about the effect that this situation, generated by Canadians, may have on their health.
Martin Efron is a banker, he works in Midtown and on a corner near Bryant Park, he takes pictures of the Empire State Building covered in thick smoke with his phone.
“It looks like we are on Mars, everything orange, the sky turns orange and a lot of people look very worried and wear masks and it’s not pretty at all,” he told RFI.
Every day, people receive on their cell phones the notifications sent by the city government with the air quality index that is very high; at a level considered harmful.
María Montero organizes traffic outside an elementary school in Brooklyn. She says that the children are quite affected by what is happening.
“Yesterday they did not go out like other days that run away. Yesterday they were very quiet, walking with their little mask because they already announced that people who are sick, like this, asthmatic or something, had to wear the mask and now, since I work on the street, I also had to put it on ”, he explains .
To reduce exposure to this harmful air, authorities recommend wearing a mask and avoiding going outside as much as possible and also keeping doors and windows closed.
“It smells like someone is having a barbecue,” says Nicha Suaittiyanon, a 30-year-old tourist from Thailand, her eyes teary.
On the banks of the East River, retired attorney Jack Wright explained that the pollution made him “cough all day.”
“I quit smoking 50 years ago, but it’s the kind of cough I got when I smoked,” he says.
The New York mayor, Eric Adams, recommended that the population avoid activity abroad for “absolute necessity.” “This is not the day to train for a marathon,” he said.
IQAir.com, which monitors air quality around the world, said New York had the worst level of pollution of any city on the planet.
This event is “another worrying sign of how the climate crisis affects our lives,” said White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre.