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Australia 'New situation': record 81 days of bad air quality in Sydney

08:20  24 january  2020
08:20  24 january  2020 Source:   smh.com.au

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On 4 January, Sydney ’s western suburb Penrith recorded its hottest day on record at 48.9 °C On 5 January, a fire broke out in bushland at Voyager Point in Sydney 's south-west, spreading rapidly The first day of two- day cricket tour match between a Victoria XI and New Zealand in Melbourne was

In order to install the Sydney Air Quality Widget on your favorite iPhone or iPod device Want your own air quality monitoring station? The GAIA air quality monitoring stations are using high-tech laser particle sensors to measure in real-time PM2.5 pollution, which is one of the most harmful air pollutants.

a large ship in a body of water: Sydneysiders experienced an unprecedented 28 days of hazardous air quality last year.© James Brickwood Sydneysiders experienced an unprecedented 28 days of hazardous air quality last year.

Sydneysiders experienced 81 days of hazardous, very poor or poor air quality last year, more than the combined total for the previous 10 years, and health experts say new policies are needed for this unprecedented length of exposure to bushfire smoke.

Of those 81 days, 28 were classified as hazardous, the worst-possible level, another 21 were very poor and 32 were poor at one or more monitoring station in Sydney.

Last year was the first time since at least 2009 that the city has had more than 18 days in a calendar year when the air quality reached poor, very poor or hazardous levels, a Herald analysis of NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment data shows.

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There have already been 14 such days this year.

"The danger is now, especially if a prolonged bushfire season happens next year and into the future," Sotiris Vardoulakis, professor of global environmental health at the Australian National University said.

"Frankly, what we need is a bushfire smoke management plan in the same way we have fire management plans, this is a new situation and people need to know what to do when there is a risk of exposure at this very high level."

At its worst point last year, the air quality index reached 790 in Rouse Hill on November 19, nearly four times the threshold for hazardous conditions. In comparison, the air quality index for Beijing peaked at 175 on Thursday.

Professor Vardoulakis said health risks are higher for people with pre-existing conditions, pregnant women and young children, and that standards for facilities that cater to these groups need to change.

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Greater Sydney in December 2019: Record dry with hot days . Smoke from bushfires burning across New South Wales led to very poor air quality in Sydney several times during the month. In some situations , some or all of the rainfall is in the form of hail or snow. In these cases the totals given are

"We need to reconsider air conditioning and air filtration in the school environment and make sure that facilities are well-equipped to protect [people] from smoke," Professor Vardoulakis said.

"Buildings, schools, offices and houses are very leaky and eventually smoke penetrates into the indoor environment."

The NSW Department of Education's advice to schools includes keeping students indoors with doors and windows closed, cancelling sporting events and monitoring staff and students with respiratory conditions.

A number of Sydney schools cancelled outdoor time for students for weeks in December.

Peak union groups are also calling for changes to state-wide work health and safety regulations to establish procedures for workers who may be exposed to high levels of air pollution.

Head of Centre for Air Pollution, Energy and Health Research and professor of medicine at UNSW Guy Marks said studies in polluted urban centres around the world show that poor air quality is linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and cancers.

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Air quality readings are updated hourly and a daily air quality forecast is made for the Greater Sydney Metropolitan Region at 4pm each day . Avoid indoor sources of air pollution like cigarettes, candles and incense sticks. Anyone with persistent symptoms should seek medical advice or call Health Direct

Air Quality Concentration Data - updated hourly. Sydney forecast. The AQI provides a comparison of air pollutants, standardising measurements of ozone, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, airborne particles and visibility into one easy-to-understand index.

However, he said that the majority of existing work looks at the effects of pollution from burning coal and specific studies are yet to be done on the long-term impacts of exposure to bushfire smoke.

Lesley Russell, an adjunct professor at the Menzies Centre for Health Policy, said it could take as long as 10 or 20 years before we learn about the full repercussions.

"There's a whole cadre of the population, including firefighters and people in bushfire-affected communities, who have had up-close and long-term exposure to smoke and retardants," Dr Russell said.

"There may or may not be a problem but the evidence suggests there is. We have to remember that there was a period when we thought asbestos was perfectly fine."

Air quality is described as hazardous when the concentration of very fine particulate matter, known as PM2.5, is at or above 200 micrograms per cubic metre of air, or two times the national standard.

It is classified as very poor when PM2.5 is between 150 and 199 and as poor when PM2.5 is between 100 and 149.

The NSW Department of Environment advises that sensitive groups should reduce strenuous outdoor activities when air quality is classified as poor and everyone should avoid all strenuous outdoor activities when air quality reaches hazardous levels.

The analysis looked at daily maximum air quality index data from 16 monitoring stations in Greater Sydney, including Rozelle, Parramatta, Liverpool and Campbelltown between January 2009 and 2020.

Suffocating smoke is BACK: Choking smog from raging bushfires is expected to blanket Sydney - and it's not leaving any time soon .
A poor air quality alert has been forecast for Sydney to be blanketed in smoke on Sunday as raging bushfires in the nation's capital and south-eastern New South Wales continue to burn out of control. 'Areas of smoke haze developing during the day. Dust haze possible in the afternoon and evening,' a forecast from the Bureau of Meteorology forecast stated. require(["inlineoutstreamAd", "c.

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