Attention, Metro Detroit residents! Brace yourselves for a grave environmental concern that demands immediate action. The air quality in our beloved city has plunged to alarming levels, thanks to the raging forest fires in Canada. Detroit now finds itself among the most contaminated regions in the entire country.
The smoke plume stemming from the wildfires in Nova Scotia has unleashed a deluge of hazardous fine particles into our atmosphere. As a consequence, the Air Quality Index (AQI) has skyrocketed, prompting the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) to declare Wednesday, June 7, and Thursday, June 8, as critical “action days.” Pay close attention because action days are not to be taken lightly. They signify that the air we breathe poses a substantial threat to our health and well-being.
The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy have issued an urgent announcement, designating June 7th and 8th as Action Days specifically due to the surging levels of fine particulate matter across Southeast Michigan counties. Brace yourselves for polluted air that falls within the range of being unhealthy for sensitive groups, with certain hourly concentrations even reaching the dreaded “unhealthy” level.
This air quality alert encompasses a significant portion of Southeast Michigan, including Wayne, Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw, Livingston, St. Clair, Lapeer, Monroe, Lenawee, Genesee, and Sanilac counties. It’s a dire situation that demands our immediate attention and action.
To put things into perspective, the air quality in Detroit has plunged to abysmal levels, ranking among the worst in the world as of this Wednesday morning. Yes, you read that right. Our city is facing an unprecedented environmental crisis, with repercussions that extend far beyond our immediate surroundings.
The smoke emanating from Canada’s relentless wildfires has been traversing the United States for weeks now. The most recent fires near Quebec have been burning relentlessly, engulfing everything in their path for several days. As a result, hazy skies, reduced visibility, and the pungent smell of burning wood will linger for some time in the northern states.
Now, I implore you to take note of these crucial steps to ensure your safety during this period of heightened air pollution:
- Stay indoors: If you reside in close proximity to the affected areas, do not venture outside unnecessarily. Keep yourself sheltered indoors to avoid inhaling toxic smoke, ashes, and other harmful pollutants.
- Safeguard your home’s air: Seal off any points of entry for the contaminated air by shutting doors, windows, and fireplace dampers. Opt for clean, filtered air circulation using air conditioners set to recirculation mode.
- Monitor your symptoms: Be vigilant and aware of any adverse effects on your health. The increased smoke levels in certain regions can make breathing more arduous. If you experience any discomfort or concerning symptoms, reach out to your healthcare provider without delay.
- Protect the little ones: Our children and teenagers are particularly vulnerable to the damaging effects of smoke inhalation. Given that their lungs are still developing, they inhale a greater volume of air (and consequently more pollution) relative to their size compared to adults. Therefore, it is imperative to take extra precautions to shield them from harm.
- Seek assistance: Should you find yourself in need of guidance or information regarding lung health, wildfires, or lung-related ailments, remember that help is just a phone call away. Reach out to the American Lung Association’s Lung HelpLine at 1-800-LUNGUSA. Staffed by experienced nurses and respiratory therapists, this invaluable resource offers free assistance to address all your concerns and provide essential advice on safeguarding yourself during wildfires.
Metro Detroit, let us face this air quality crisis head-on. Together, we can protect our health, secure our future, and ensure the well-being of our community. Act now, for our lives and the lives of our loved ones are at stake.