The state Health Department has launched a new website that provides near real-time data on the air quality in Hawaii and is expected to serve as a one-stop online resource, particularly in the event of future volcanic eruptions.
The launch is timed to coincide with National Air Quality Awareness Week, which lasts through Friday.
“Kilauea provided valuable lessons for our state,” said health director and Hawaii island resident Bruce Anderson in a news release. “Residents in communities on the Big Island were severely impacted by Kilauea, especially those with respiratory conditions. There were numerous days during the eruption when the air quality was unhealthy and health effects were a concern. We listened to the concerns of residents, took action to improve our air quality monitoring system, and created a one-stop, user-friendly website. We’re much more volcano-ready than we have ever been.”
Data for the website is pulled from air quality monitoring stations at strategic locations throughout the state, the majority of which are on Hawaii island. The data is updated continuously but normally displayed within one hour after collection.
Due to the unprecedented severity and duration of last summer’s Kilauea eruption, the state Health Department realized the need to provide accessible, reliable data for residents affected by the resulting vog and other effects.
Thanks to more than $1.5 million in federal and state funds, the state was able to upgrade and expand its air quality monitoring system.
Six new air quality monitoring stations have been installed at Honaunau, Kailua-Kona, Keaau, Naalehu, Pahoa and Waikoloa on Hawaii island, bringing the total statewide to 18.
Air quality is ranked using a six-tiered, color-coded index system based on a national standard. Green indicates that the air quality is good, yellow moderate, and orange unhealthy for sensitive groups. Red indicates the air quality is unhealthy, purple very unhealthy, and maroon, hazardous.