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Asians in the U.S. say air quality ‘feels dangerously like home’

Some Asian residents are comparing the orange smog in New York City to conditions they have faced back home.
Image: People walk in Central Park as smoke from wildfires in Canada cause hazy conditions in New York on June 7, 2023.
People walk in Central Park as smoke from wildfires in Canada causes hazy conditions in New York on Wednesday.Timothy A. Clary / AFP - Getty Images

The orange haze suffocating New York City and other U.S. cities is reminding some Asian residents of conditions in their home countries. They've taken to social media to describe the familiarity of the smell and sight of the smoke, which migrated from Canadian wildfires over the past month.

"Feels dangerously like home," one person tweeted in response to the news that New York City on Tuesday and Wednesday had among the worst air quality in the world, according to, a tracking service.

Some Asian cities named in the top 10 for worst air quality were Delhi, India; Lahore, Pakistan; and Jakarta, Indonesia.

Many users also highlighted the disproportionate impact climate events tend to have on Asian countries.

"As someone who relatively-recently lived in Bangalore, India—which has *terrible* air pollution issues—this looks way worse than anything I experienced there," another person tweeted. "Extremely sad," they added.

Seventy percent of air-pollution-related death occurs in the Asia-Pacific region, according to the United Nations Environment Program. Some of the leading pollutants in the region are nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide, which are released from industrial emissions and fossil fuel combustion, respectively.

"The air quality feels incredibly familiar to those who are from/live in cities globally where unsafe levels are a daily norm," another person tweeted. "I can’t remember a time I’ve come back from India and the region without a respiratory/asthma flare-up and a sore throat."

The National Weather Service in New York cautioned residents to limit time outdoors, especially for vulnerable groups like children and older adults.