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Department of Health to monitor New Year’s air quality


Public advised to prepare for a smoke-filled New Year’s Eve

HONOLULU – The Hawai‘i State Department of Health’s (DOH) Clean Air Branch will be monitoring Hawai’i’s air quality during New Year’s and comparing it with national ambient air quality standards. The heavy use of fireworks during the annual holiday celebration can significantly increase the amount of particulates in the air, especially on Oahu.

The Clean Air Branch is encouraging the public to be properly informed and prepared for the upcoming New Year’s fireworks celebrations as well as possible temporary increases in vog levels.

Firework smoke consists primarily of particulate matter that can aggravate conditions such as asthma, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis. Those who suffer from any of these lung conditions may want to take certain precautionary measures. The DOH offers some of the following guidelines:

  • On New Year’s Eve, stay indoors and close your windows and doors.
  • Check that your air conditioner or air purifier is working properly, change filters if necessary.
  • Do not smoke and avoid second-hand smoke.
  • If you take medication, make sure you have an adequate supply and use them as directed by your physician.
  • Contact your physician if you need more medication and get clear instructions of what to do if your lung condition suddenly worsens.
  • Avoid people who have colds and other lung infections and wash your hands thoroughly.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to loosen mucus. Warm beverages work best.
  • Get plenty of rest and limit physical exertion.

While these suggestions are intended primarily for persons with respiratory or chronic lung disease, they are also useful for healthy persons during air pollution episodes such as particulates dust, brush fires, firework smoke, or volcanic haze.

For further information regarding air quality, contact the Clean Air Branch at 586-4200. To obtain additional information on respiratory health and the New Year’s fireworks, contact the American Lung Association of Hawai’i at 537-5966 or visit their website at

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