New Year's air quality improves for Honolulu - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

New Year's air quality improves for Honolulu

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) Clean Air Branch on Thursday reported significantly lower levels of smoke from fireworks during the 2012 New Year period.

 The DOH says particulate levels on Oahu showed improvement over past years.  The decrease coincided with a ban on certain fireworks on Oahu. 

The DOH measures particulate levels at four air monitoring stations on Oahu (Honolulu, Pearl City, Sand Island, and Kapolei), one on Kauai (Niumalu), and one on Maui (Kihei). 

Fireworks smoke consist primarily of fine particulate matter (PM2.5), which can penetrate into the lungs and aggravate existing respiratory conditions such as asthma, emphysema and chronic bronchitis.  The PM2.5 national standard is 35 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3) averaged over 24 hours.

During the 2011 New Year period, the highest recorded particulate levels were 36 µg/m3 in Pearl City and 32 µg/m3 in Kapolei.  During the 2012 New Year period, the particulate levels were measured at 10 µg/m3 or lower in those areas.  Another change from 2011 to 2012 was that Honolulu and Sand Island now produced the highest levels on Oahu, but even their levels remained well below previous years  not exceeding 15 µg/m3.

This was the first year monitoring was conducted on Kaua'i, where the 24-hour highest values were  8 µg/m3 on December 31, 2011, and 16  µg/m3 on January 1, 2012. 

New Year's data is also available at the Clean Air Branch website.

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