The Columbian columbian.com 27 Sep, 2020 23:30 am

As wildfire smoke clears, airport communities continue fight for clean air

As wildfire smoke clears, airport communities continue fight for clean air
SEATAC — As massive clouds of smoke from wildfires throughout the region obscured the sky last week, SeaTac Deputy Mayor Peter Kwon filtered the air in his own home by attaching a furnace filter to a box fan and then duct-taping a triangular piece of cardboard over the gaps. When the air quality index (AQI) rose to 225 last week, Kwon said that his contraption reduced the living room to below 50 AQI.

When the air quality index (AQI) rose to 225 last week, Kwon said that his contraption reduced the living room to below 50 AQI.The ultrafine particles from aviation and roadway traffic had long concerned Kwon, who lives about a half-mile from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport: While recent wildfires have forced residents across Western Washington to experience the hazards of poor air quality, Kwon and others who live in communities surrounding the airport say they’ll continue to face a year-round threat to their air from aviation-related pollution.Their findings, documented in the citizen-gathered Purple Air Map, came as no surprise to him: “The air quality around the airport is not as clean as areas farther away,” he said.“One of the problems is that SeaTac has historically had poor air quality.

So with the wildfires, the poor air quality has just skyrocketed,” Kwon said.“The impact that’s difficult for people living near the airport is that they already experience and perceive poorer air quality,” said Austin.

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