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Pollution Levels Shoot Up with Fireworks

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Pollution Levels Shoot Up with Fireworks

Fireworks Reykjavík

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

The Icelandic nation’s fireworks spectacle on New Year’s Eve resulted in the highest concentration of airborne particles on New Year’s Day since January 1, 2010. The pollution in the air was obvious to anyone who was outside shortly after midnight in the capital area.

According to a press release from the City of Reykjavík, the concentration of airborne particles the first hour of the year was 1,451 micrograms per cubic meter at the Grensásvegur measuring station in Reykjavík, compared with 363 μg/m3 at the same time a year ago. During the first hour of 2015, that concentration was 215 μg/m3; 245 μg in 2014; 475 μg/m3 in 2013; 1,014 μg/m3 in 2012; and 284 μg/m3 in 2011. On New Year’s Day 2010, its level was 1,575 μg/m3.

The average reading at the Grensásvegur station yesterday was 160 μg/m3.

Public health guidelines call for a 24-hour mean of no more than 50 μg/m3.

The highest half hour reading of airborne particles was at 1:30 am at the Grensásvegur station, when it stood at 2,418 μg/m3.

The reason for the elevated levels was the calm air in the capital area at midnight. The levels dropped rapidly early yesterday morning.

The level of airborne particles surpassed the 24-hour health guideline mean nine times in 2016.

You can look up the level of airborne particles in the capital city here, at the City of Reykjavík website. It shows the levels at four different measuring stations in the capital.

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