Health Risks Posed by Thick Smoke Over Sydney

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Sarah Peddie

Sydney has been drowned in a pool of thick dark smoke as bushfires continue to cause havoc across the eastern part of Australia. 

On Tuesday, the city was covered in a giant smoke cloud which was produced by the bushfires that have destroyed part of the country. The air pollution was over 12 times the ‘hazardous’ level.

The fires have burned around 2.7 million hectares of land in the eastern states, which is almost three times more than what was burned down in the Amazon fires earlier this year.

New South Wales (NSW) director of environmental health, Richard Broome said: "Certainly in Sydney we have experienced very poor air quality episodes in the past and the one I'm most aware of is the 2009 dust storm episode, where we had extremely high levels," 

"But certainly this smoky period we've been experiencing for the past month or so, it is unprecedented, so these conditions are a risk to people's health."

Under the Air Quality Index (AQI) level that exceed 200 are considered hazardous to the health of residents. 

Several regions in Sydney rated above 400, a couple scored 1,000 and there were even some that went to 2,500 which is almost 13 times more than the hazardous level. 

Due to the smoke covering the city and surrounding areas, hospital admissions have increased, public transport has been disrupted and residents have had to buy face masks to protect themselves from inhaling dangerous particles in the air. 

The Government and Prime Minister have come under fire and have been criticised for downplaying the threats that climate change poses on the country. Protesters have taken to the streets of Sydney to protest against the Government and its climate change policies. 

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