Hawaii’s New Year’s Eve Air Quality Worsens Due to Light Variable Winds

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HONOLULU – As expected due to the light and variable winds, the air quality on this New Year’s day was worse than last year and exceeded the federal 24-hour standard for fine particulates at several locations. The monitored results showed that the air pollution increased during the early morning hours starting about midnight and subsiding around 3 a.m. The Hawai’i State Department of Health’s Clean Air Branch determined this by monitoring air quality during New Year’s day and comparing it to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).

Prior to the New Year, the islands were experiencing hazy conditions from the vog due to the light and southerly winds which became variable during New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. As in the past, the heavy use of fireworks during this holiday celebration impacted Hawaii’s air quality. Fireworks smoke consist primarily of particulate matter. The fine particulates (PM2.5) can penetrate into the lungs and aggravate existing respiratory conditions such as asthma, emphysema and chronic bronchitis.


The Clean Air Branch monitored the air quality at five air monitoring stations located at Honolulu, Sand Island, Pearl City, Kapolei, and Kihei. Three of the five sites had levels which exceeded the PM2.5 standard for of 35 microgram per cubic meter averaged over 24 hours. On January 1, 2010, Honolulu recorded 62