The Hawaii State Department of Health Clean Air Branch says it measured lower levels of smoke on Oahu from fireworks during the 2013 New Year period.
The particulate levels continue a trend that coincides with reduced fireworks activity resulting from the 2011 ban on certain fireworks on Oahu.
The DOH measures particulate levels at four air monitoring stations on Oahu (Honolulu, Pearl City, Sand Island and Kapolei), one on Kauai (Niumalu), and one on Maui (Kihei).
Fireworks smoke consists primarily of fine particulate matter (PM2.5), which can penetrate into the lungs and aggravate existing respiratory conditions such as asthma, emphysema and chronic bronchitis. The PM2.5 national standard is 35 micrograms per cubic meter averaged over 24 hours.
During the 2013 New Year period, the particulate levels were measured at 15 per cubic meter or lower in all areas, with the highest recorded particulate level of 15 per cubic meter in Pearl City.
Prior to the ban, during the 2011 New Year period, the highest recorded particulate levels on Oahu were 36 per cubic meter in Pearl City and 32 per cubic meter in Kapolei. During the 2012 New Year period, which was the first New Year after the ban, the recorded particulate levels ranged from 6 per cubic meter to 16 per cubic meter, with the highest recorded particulate level of 16 per cubic meter in Niumalu.
The use of fireworks during the New Year’s celebration affects the air quality in Hawaii, but the degree of impact is greatly influenced by the amount of fireworks burned in the area, the weather conditions such as wind and rain, and the land configuration. New Year’s data is also available at the Clean Air Branch website at: http://hawaii.gov/health/environmental/air/cab/index.html