Smoke haze blankets Sydney as bushfire threat rises

20 November, 2019 12:00 AM printer

SYDNEY: Sydney was shrouded in dangerous haze Tuesday as smoke from bushfires blazing along Australia’s eastern seaboard sent pollution levels soaring in the country’s biggest city, reports AFP.

Official data showed that pollution had reached “hazardous” levels across Sydney, with the highest readings of PM 2.5 particulates in the city’s northwest reaching 186 parts per million on the air quality index—comparable to Delhi—and residents warned to avoid outdoor exercise.

The usually blue skies of the harbour city turned a miserable grey, with world-famous landmarks the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge dulled against the skyline.

Although the smog had begun to ease under the midday sun, it would increase again on Tuesday evening, the Bureau of Meteorology said.

“Sydney is also known as the ‘big smoke’ and is living up to the nickname today,” the weather forecaster tweeted.

The New South Wales state environmental health director Richard Broome said the fine particles in smoke could irritate the respiratory system and aggravate existing lung and heart conditions.

“For most people, smoke causes mild symptoms like sore eyes, nose and throat,” he said.