Air pollution surges during Lag Ba’omer bonfires

Highest concentration of respirable particles occurred from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m., says Environmental Protection Ministry.

Lag Baomer bonfire (photo credit: Reuters)
Lag Baomer bonfire
(photo credit: Reuters)
Air pollution was high late on Wednesday night and on Thursday morning as a result of Lag Ba’omer bonfires, with the highest concentration of respirable particles occurring from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m., the Environmental Protection Ministry said.
Concentration of respirable particles smaller than 10 microns, measured in micrograms per cubic meter, which on a typical clear day is about 60 on average throughout the country, was highest in Kiryat Ata near Haifa and in Beersheba, at 168 and 166, respectively, followed by Arad, with 148.
Jerusalem’s Romema neighborhood had a concentration of 143 micrograms per cu.m. and its Shmuel Hanavi neighborhood had 135. The southern portion of Tel Aviv had measures of 107 micrograms per cu.m., while Modi’in had 120 and Beit Shemesh had 111.
Concentrations of particles smaller than 2.5 microns, which on a clear day averages 30 to 40 micrograms per cu.m., were particularly high in Gedera between 10 p.m. and 1:30 a.m., at 250 micrograms per cu.m.
In Moshav Nir Yisrael near Ashkelon, the concentration at 10:30 p.m. was about 190 micrograms per cu.m.
The measurement of particle concentrations was influenced by the locations of the fires relative to the monitoring stations, as well as meteorological conditions such as wind direction and speed, the Environmental Protection Ministry noted.
In addition, this year particle concentrations decreased in the Tel Aviv and Jerusalem areas, due to the reduction of open space in these cities and others, the ministry said.
Research conducted in the field indicated that there was an upsurge in emergency room visits related to air quality due to Lag Ba’omer bonfires, the ministry said.