Air pollution in Moscow has surged to up to five times normal levels as the Russian capital continues to suffocate under a cloud of acrid smoke from wildfires.
Even indoors some are wearing face-masks as health officials told people not to venture out and to avoid physical exertion, so bad is the smog.
“It irritates the eyes so much and you can’t breathe,” said Anya Ruleva, a student. “We wear masks, put wet towels on windows, it’s nothing special, but nothing helps.”
“It’s just impossible to work,” said Mikhail Borodin, a Moscow resident in his late twenties. “I don’t know what the government is doing, they should just cancel office hours.”
Some office workers were indeed sent home as smoke seeped into buildings.
President Medvedev visited a medical centre specialising in treating children. He described the situation as ‘monstrous’.
The vulnerable have been advised to leave the city. but flights and trains out of Moscow are fully booked. At least 60 planes have been diverted to as far as Ukraine from the city’s busiest airports.