Indian Americans with elderly visitors from India are either masking up or rescheduling trips to tourist sites
The Verma family from Connecticut had long planned a trip to Niagara Falls to coincide with their elderly parents’ visit from India. This week, the family of six, including a toddler set off to Niagara Falls.
But now with the deteriorating air quality they are worried if they should venture out with their parents and kids. Gaurav Verma, the family head says, “I am trying to reach out to my family doctor to seek advice on whether we should wear face masks, take precautions and head to the attractions or stay indoors.”
Another Indian American tourist Rama Das visiting the Niagara falls area, says, “I am in the nearby area and the situation is not good. We are constantly coughing. The sky looks hazy, polluted and brown.
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“Even though we may have relatives from India, where cities like Delhi remain consistently among the worst polluted in the world, one should not use that as an excuse to venture out.”
On Tuesday night, New York City registered the worst air quality of any major city in the world. The National Weather Service has issued an air quality alert for residents in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
While the cause of the public health crisis is the smoke from Canadian wildfires which remains a good 300 miles away in Quebec, millions in North America are affected by the deteriorating air quality.
As NYC experienced its worst air quality in recorded history with Air Quality Index (AQI) reaching 405 ppm as of Wednesday afternoon, both locals as well as visitors are worried about the health outcomes.
For NYC based Seema Khan who had parents visiting from Dubai, it turned out to be the worst nightmare. “My parents are here only for a few days and taking them out is not advisable.”
“I am so bummed that their days will be spent indoors during the glorious summer New York experiences during this time of the year.”
Khan’s Manhattan apartment also has some beautiful views of NYC skylines, but talking from her Manhattan home she says, “Visibility has dropped to half a mile and we see dusty looking skyscrapers shrouded in haze. I have never seen such a view in my ten years here in New York.”
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Another tourist to the New York area from Alabama, Neha Das says, “We were hoping to do fun things like catching up on the Yankees-White Sox games in NYC but that too was cancelled. It is not worthwhile visiting at this time. Maybe some other time.”
As summers remain the prime time when many desis invite their parents or relatives from India to show them around the city, the wildfire pollution has really come as a dampener.
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