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New Yorkers Express Concerns About Lack of Notification Regarding Polluted Air Event

For street vendor Nelly Johanna, her job forces her to be outside most of the day, breathing polluted air. That is why she says she had the scare of her life when last June as a result of the Canadian forest fires, the Big Apple completely changed color.

“I just got scared because everything looked red,” Johanna recalled.

Johanna, like many, was affected by the air quality that day.

“It was another thing that I had never seen that, I was scared.”

He also says that he found out through social networks about the poor air quality. That he never received any alert from the city, because he went to work without problems.

“We had not known, only through social networks.”

Street vendor Nelly Johanna.

But were New Yorkers really prepared or informed of the event that day?

At a public hearing at City Hall on Wednesday, the ombudsman and city council members raised concerns about how and when New Yorkers were notified of the influx of hazardous air from Canada.

Councilwoman Jennifer Gutierrez.

“And if the administration or the mayor’s office had taken a more serious, more urgent notification, at least for those people, they would have made the decision to go to work or stay at home. Worse, since there were no notifications, all of us continued very well,” said Councilwoman Jennifer Gutierrez.

They said the city did what it could, but its response was delayed at times.

“What happened? Why didn’t we receive earlier, more updated notifications, because there were no earlier cancellations,” the councilor claimed.

The ombudsman, Jumaane Williams, assured that the mayor and the commissioner of the emergency management office should have given a press conference at the time they had the information at hand.

Ombudsman Jumaane Williams.

“The sky could have been regular and we still have bad air, how does the public know? So you’re telling me if the sky hadn’t turned orange we might not have alerted and people would have been hurt,” Williams said.

For his part, Zach Iscol, commissioner of the Office of Emergency Management, said that public messages about the possible poor air quality began a week before and that when the Air Quality Index skyrocketed, measures were taken such as distribution of masks and cancellation of outdoor events. Schools also reduced outdoor activities and the mayor alerted New Yorkers to dangerous air quality at a press conference.

“And we did it through many different mechanisms, we did it through notify nyc, one of the most important things we did was take care of the most vulnerable,” Iscol said.

And while the summer is still far from over and more air quality related events are likely, the Adams administration said they continue to strive to provide New Yorkers with the most up-to-date information so they can adjust their activities ahead of time.

2023-07-12 23:23:00
#Councilors #question #City #alerted #poor #air #quality

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