The air quality in Washington state is an actual dumpster fire.
Wildfires from Vancouver, B.C and eastern Washington are dumping their noxious byproducts into our air and every population in Washington is suffering as a result.
However, some are hurting more than others. Chief among them: Homeless people.
The American Lung Association recommends staying inside as much as possible when the air quality is unhealthy — but of course, thousands in King County have no easy option. Public locations open during daytime hours include places like libraries and senior centers. At the Seattle Center, the Armory will open its doors for people who need to take shelter in an airconditioned space.
Housed people also have it hard when the air quality worsens to this degree, especially in places like Washington, where people are far less likely to have air conditioners and may not have air filters.
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According to the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, the only safe activity on Tuesday, Aug. 21 was sitting inside streaming Netflix on your laptop. That was true if you were among the “sensitive groups” — older people, children and folks with conditions like asthma — as well as “healthy adults.”
Meanwhile, an app called “Sh**t! I Smoke,” which pulls real-time data from air quality, paints a grave picture. The app estimated that people outside on Tuesday, August 21, were breathing in as much cancerous particulate as if they had smoked more than seven cigarettes, the same as the previous Friday.
The smoke is expected to lift some this week, but residents are advised to seek shelter when (if) possible.
Ashley Archibald is a Staff Reporter covering local government, policy and equity. Have a story idea? She can be can reached at ashleya (at) realchangenews (dot) org. Follow Ashley on Twitter @AshleyA_RC
Check out the full Aug. 22 - Aug. 28 issue.
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