After a few all-too-brief days of respite, Moscow’s cloud of toxic smog has returned despite some success in fighting the wildfires close to the Russian capital.
A change in weather conditions- heavy rain plus a drop in wind- cleared the skies for a while, but smoke has drifted back once again.
“The levels of hydrocarbon emissions – the substances that give the air this unpleasant smell- were 5.5 times higher than the usual Moscow levels,“said ecology expert, Alexei Popikov.
Previously the daily mortality rate in Moscow had doubled to around 700 people believed to be related to the record high temperatures and breathing difficulties made worse by the poisonous atmosphere.
Pulmonary medic, Elena Zapadinskaya warned that even healthy people could suffer from coughs, breathing problems when undertaking some form of physical activity.
Tens of thousands of residents are reported to have left the city, those who stay make use of air conditioning in shopping centres.
Some good news though, Russia’s Civil Defence Ministry said the area burning in the country’s worst ever outbreak of forest and peat fires had been reduced by a third to around 50,000 hectares.