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Home » News » AIR QUALITY UPDATE: Workers perspective, current alerts, and photos from around the Finger Lakes (full coverage)

AIR QUALITY UPDATE: Workers perspective, current alerts, and photos from around the Finger Lakes (full coverage)

Workers perspective on air quality issues across the Finger Lakes

Despite air quality readings across the Finger Lakes and Central New York that far surpassed unsafe levels for all people – many were surprised at the number of folks still out working on Wednesday.

Wildfires in parts of Canada brought a smokey haze, along with distinct gray-orange glow to the region.

Officials at all levels discouraged outdoor activity, with many canceling events.

The extent to which the air quality deteriorated might have been a surprise for some, but workers we spoke with across the region, who remained outdoors- said it wasn’t even discussed.

“It’s not very good,” a worker who spoke to on condition on anonymity said. He was standing on the back of a recycle truck, picking up bins from the side of the road. “They talked about moving pick-up, but they were worried about call-outs tomorrow if they knew we’d all have to work overtime.”

As for the symptoms of working outside in that air quality – it was a mixed bag. Two of the workers we spoke with said they were experiencing headaches and dry throat. Two others said they could smell it, but didn’t have a big impact. “Smells like we’re out here camping,” the worker told us as we talked with his co-worker.

This was the case was repeated a number of times throughout the region.

Latest Air Quality Alert from New York State

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos and State Department of Health (DOH) Commissioner Dr. James McDonald issued an Air Quality Health Advisory for the Long Island, New York City Metro, Lower Hudson Valley, Upper Hudson Valley, Eastern Lake Ontario, Central New York and Western New York regions for Wednesday, June 7, 2023.  

The pollutant of concern is: Fine Particulate Matter 

The advisory will be in effect through 11:59 p.m. on Thursday. 

DEC and DOH issue Air Quality Health Advisories when DEC meteorologists predict levels of pollution, either ozone or fine particulate matter are expected to exceed an Air Quality Index (AQI) value of 100. The AQI was created as an easy way to correlate levels of different pollutants to one scale, with a higher AQI value indicating a greater health concern. 

More photos from around the Finger Lakes

Sodus Lighthouse by Chris Trine on Thursday.
Aerial shot from Sodus Point during Thursday’s smoke out.
Another view by Chris Trine.
Werner Lutz captured this incredible photo from Sodus Point too. No filter. Just an orange, gray reality.
Tom Cote captured this incredible photo along Conesus Lake after the smoke began to shift west late-Thursday.
There was plenty of visible smoke though on Conesus as evidenced by this photo from Scott Fisher.
Susan Cady White captured this photo over Conesus Lake looking east around 12:30 p.m.
Bob Long captured this photo along Conesus yesterday afternoon, too.
Jill Andrews shot this from Cayuga County. The sun was just about completely covered.
Patty Nersinger Humphrey shot this along Keuka Lake.