Russia fires raise smog to 10 times safe level in Moscow

The worst smog to hit Moscow in almost a decade has sent pollution soaring 10 times above safe levels, an air monitoring service said on Wednesday.

Russia fires raise smog to 10 times safe level in Moscow

The worst smog to hit Moscow in almost a decade has sent pollution soaring 10 times above safe levels, an air monitoring service said on Wednesday, as firemen reported success extinguishing the peat fires causing the smoke.

A heatwave has engulfed central parts of European Russia since June, pushing temperatures in Moscow to their highest-ever level and sparking forest and peat fires across the country.

Peat fires on the outskirts of Moscow have blanketed the city in its worst smog since 2002. The smoke's sharp, cinder-filled smell has crept into offices, homes and restaurants via windows and doors.

"The concentration of carbon monoxide and suspended particles in Moscow surged up to 10 times above the limit last night," Alexei Popikov, chief specialist at Mosekomonitoring, a city government agency overseeing air pollution, told Reuters.

He said the elderly and those suffering from heart disease should try and avoid contact with the smog.

Moscow hit an absolute temperature record Monday with 37.4 degrees Celsius (99.3 degrees Fahrenheit) and was bracing for another high on Wednesday.

Alexei Yablokov, an internationally renowned biologist who runs Russia's Green Party, said on Tuesday that air pollution caused by the smog could kill hundreds more people than usual in the Moscow region.

Moscow region chief Boris Gromov asked Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to allocate 25 billion roubles ($827 million) to fight the fires around Moscow.

State-run news agency RIA reported on Wednesday that all the fires had been extinguished, but a spokeswoman for the Emergencies Ministry said new fires had since erupted.

A ministry statement early Wednesday said that 43 fires had been extinguished in the previous 24 hours.

The smog may begin to clear on Thursday evening, when an atmospheric front moving over from the west is expected to bring rain showers to the Moscow region, Dmitry Kiktev, deputy director of the Rosgidromet meteorological service told Reuters.

He said the heatwave will retreat over the weekend, with temperatures falling four or five degrees Celsius below those registered this week.

Reuters

Last Mod: 28 Temmuz 2010, 13:47
Add Comment