Air Quality Worst on Record in Canberra

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Sarah Peddie

Residents in Australia’s capital city were told to stay indoors for the next coming days of the new year as the air quality is the worst on record.

As bushfires continue to burn throughout the country, the quality of the air is deteriorating at a fast pace. 

Due to the atmospheric conditions, the smoke has become trapped and not moving over the city of Canberra. Residents have been told to stay indoors as they expect a couple of days of smog ahead. 

A “temperature inversion” had occurred which caused warmer air above to then trap the smoke which is how the conditions became as bad as they are. 

The Australia Capital Territory (ACT) health officer, Dr Paul Dugdale said that the smoke and the air quality was the worst since the bushfires in 2003.

Dr Dugdale also reported that 12 people had gone into Canberra hospital with smoke related illnesses within the space of 24 hours. 

The Air quality index readings in the capital city were at 3,463 on New Year’s Day according to the ACT Health website. If a rating is more than 200 on the scale then the air quality is considered hazardous. 

The fires have got so bad that even New Zealand is being affected by the smoke. 

New Zealanders and tourists on the South Island woke up to a hazy orange sky on New Year’s Day as the smoke from the bushfires moving east overnight. 

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