Good Morning, Good Morning! I generally start my day by Googling news articles about St. John, Virgin Islands. Often times, when I am at a loss for a story, this rabbit hole through Google will inspire something and lead me to my next topic. Well, this morning, I found an interesting article in regards to a world wide air quality study conducted by the World Health Organization. And, guess what? Both in the Cities and the Nations and Territories categories, our little slice of heaven down here ranked at the tip top of the lists!
And, I can’t say I’m surprised. With the exception of our annual spats of Sahara Dust, the air quality here in the USVI is in plain sight. Pun intended. 🙂 Think about it. On an average day, you can clearly make out the silhouette of our sister island, St. Croix. That’s 42 miles across the water.
And, on an even clearer day, you can make out the Spanish Virgin Island of Vieques. That’s approximately 48 miles away.
Now, when is the last time you were in a place where you could see nearly 50 miles in distance? Neat, huh?
So, I guess I wasn’t shocked when I saw WHO’s report that listed Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas as one of the top five cities in the world for air quality. And, the USVI as a whole in the top five for best air quality among nations and territories. San Juan, Puerto Rico and St. Georges, Grenada also ranked in the top five cities in the world for excellent air quality while Puerto Rico and Saba came in shortly behind the USVI for territories and nations. So it seems, if you want to breathe it all in, the Caribbean is the place to be 🙂
This next part is for all of you Science Nerds out there. (PS, Science Nerds are the best! :))
These lists were comprised based upon on-the-ground samples taken from 6,475 cities world wide. And, according to WHO, the studies are based on “air pollutants measured include PM2.5 and PM10 (particles with an aerodynamic diameter of equal or less than 2.5, also called fine, and 10 micrometre respectively).” The PM2.5, or fine particulate matter, are the ones being measured for the purposes of this study. This particular type of pollutant can enter the body through the lungs and cause all kinds of health problems with a hefty dose over time, reeking havoc on the cardiovascular and respiratory system.
That’s the downside in areas with a high Air Quality Index. Like golf, we are shooting for a low score here. AQI between 1-100 are considered Satisfactory, while an AQI of 1-50 is considered Good. When AQI is above 100, it is considered to be unhealthy for at risk community members.
Now, to give you a frame of reference, the USA is doing pretty alright, as far as 2021 averages go, with an average AQI of 41. Which ranked the country in the Top 30 of 118 countries surveyed. The USVI ranked number two overall. In the real time ranking on IQAIR.com today, Atlanta, Georgia came in at an AQI of 89 and many cities in California ranked in the 90’s. St. John is sitting pretty, literally, at a score of 4. 🙂
1 thought on “Breathe It In: USVI Has Some of the Cleanest Air in the World!”
Unfortunately, the IQAir measurements did not take into account our issue with Sahara dust in summer months. This is predominantly composed of particles under 2.5 microns, and is just as unhealthy as similarly sized particles from more traditional air pollution.