Maui News

Air Quality Worsens During 2010 New Year Celebration

January 8, 2010, 3:10 PM HST
* Updated January 11, 11:05 AM
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Light and variable winds are to blame for an drop in air quality on New Year’s day.  The air particulates exceeded the federal 24-hour standard at several monitoring locations.

The Department of Health’s Clean Air Branch monitored air quality at five stations located at Honolulu, Sand Island, Pearl City, Kapolei, and Kihei on Maui.  Three of the five sites had elevated levels exceeding the standard of 35 micrograms per cubic meter over a 24 hour period.

On January 1, 2010, Honolulu recorded 62µg/m3, Pearl City was 45µg/m3, and Sand Island was 36µg/m3.   On a regular day, the average level for PM2.5 at the Honolulu monitoring station ranges from 4 to15 µg/m3.

The results showed that the air pollution increased during the early morning hours starting about midnight and subsiding around 3 a.m.

Prior to the New Year, the islands were experiencing hazy conditions from the vog due to the light and southerly winds which became variable during New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

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Health officials say that as has occurred in the past, the heavy use of fireworks during this holiday celebration impacted Hawaii’s air quality.  Fireworks smoke consist primarily of particulate matter.  The fine particulates or PM2.5, can penetrate into the lungs and aggravate existing respiratory conditions such as asthma, emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

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