Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Air Quality in Sydney atm is awful and the affects

I know I know.  The bushfires are terrible and here I am worrying about air quality. 


I'm really affected by the poor air quality.  Probably a bit more so than others.  I know I am already sensitive to VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) - you know the 'new car smell' that other people love?  Well I don't love it.  At all.  It makes me ill.  I get a headache and actually feel like vomiting.  Poor air quality affects me the same way it seems.  Not to the extent of VOCs but it definitely makes me feel not so well.  Maybe I feel it more now that I've felt so good mentally on a ketogenic diet?  Not sure.  Regardless I get a headache and the tip of my tongue feels tingly when air quality is bad.  And the air quality we have is based on bush fires and not on pollution so it is 'better' in some ways I suppose?  I can't recall feeling bad when I'm next to an open fire (camping or at an outdoor space in a pub/restaurant) so I'm not sure if it needs to be a particular level for me to feel bad.

The air quality has prompted a few things.  Firstly the building of an Air Quality level map.  I was sick of looking at the NSW Environment site on my mobile which isn't responsive or friendly to a phone. So we put it on a map.  We want the data anyway to mash together with other data points in the future to provide alerts through GARP.  It's pretty cool although somewhat limited due to the lack of air quality meters in NSW and around me.  

air quality map by Datascout International


Certainly I feel that I get a better gauge about the air quality by just looking out on the balcony and seeing if I can see Sydney.  Here's the contrast from my balcony.  One pic was just a 'normal day' in November.  The other was New Years eve - 31 December 2019 when there were many bushfires blazing.


I've also been wearing a mask when I feel the air is bad.  It's not the best mask in the world but does have a PM2.5 filter it in.  The bad air can still get in the gaps but due to my inability for handling VOCs I can't go the whole apocalyptic mask like Richard can!  


As much as a feel a bit weird in the mask it's still better than having a headache and goodness knows what it's doing to me if I feel it as a headache!

I've also bought air filters for the office (a Breville Smart Air Purifier) and for home (a Ionmax ion390).  It's better when it's on and when I have my doors closed and air conditioning on but I wish someone would tell Sprocket that.  He still likes sitting and sleeping on the balcony in the bad air!  And that means I leave the door open for him to go in and out.  Yesterday when it was very smokey and hot I had my air conditioning going and the air filter and went out into the apartment corridor and felt the difference in air quality almost immediately.  Urgh.  (Today I went outside to visit my mum and had to double back to get my mask due to the smoke outside!).

I'm doing what I can do reduce the affects of smoke for immediate affects but I do wonder about the affects longer term for everyone with this bad air... there have been some articles indicating that bad air quality can affect health in the longer terms :(

What else can we do.  We can't all move to Tasmania 😆.  So air filter and mask it is!