Sydney, Australia: City chokes with air quality over 12 times worse than hazardous

The Air Quality Index compiled by the state environment department in Sydney, Australia reached as high as 2,552 in some eastern suburbs – soaring past the “hazardous” threshold of 200. The pollution has been so bad it has set off smoke alarms in office buildings across the CBD, while ash has been washing up on the city’s usually pristine beaches. Flight arrivals at Sydney Airport has been delayed by up to 30 minutes due to poor visibility. Authorities warned people with respiratory conditions, or heart and lung problems, to stay indoors. Office workers were seen wearing face masks in the street, an unusual sight in a city more used to clear blue skies and clean air. Temperatures are forecasted to soar to 42 degrees Celsius in the city’s west.

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