Kyiv's Air Quality Index (AQI) reportedly reached unhealthly levels on Thursday, April 16, and Friday, April 17. According to international observers, Kyiv recorded an AQI at 380, the highest level among major cities monitored by the organization, on Thursday. However, levels decreased on Friday and as of Saturday, April 18, Kyiv has an AQI of 178 (second highest after Shenyang, China, at 184). Municipal officials have warned residents to remain indoors and close windows as a precaution and to avoid outside activity.
The director of the Ukrainian Hydrometeorological Center, Mykola Kulbida, said on Friday that the current pollution levels are due to recent dust storms and fires in Zhytomyr oblast, as well as dry conditions. No precipitation is forecast in Ukraine over the coming days and dry conditions are expected to continue, which may keep AQI levels high. Kulbida also confirmed that radiation monitoring is ongoing and no increase in radioactive elements have been detected in Kyiv as of Friday following recent fires in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.
An AQI reading of 0-50 is considered good, 51-100 moderate, and 101-200+ unhealthy.
Individuals in Kyiv and the surrounding area are advised to monitor the situation and local weather reports, limit outdoor activities until the situation normalizes, or wear N95 rated masks as a protection. Children and those with chronic respiratory illnesses should exercise increased caution. Individuals are advised to seek medical attention if experiencing breathing difficulties or other health concerns.
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