Monday, 6 January 2020

Air quality in the Australian capital the worst in the world

Despite being more than 60 kilometres from the nearest active fire front, the Australian capital city of Canberra has consistently woken to dark orange skies and some of the worst air quality in the world.

The national airline Qantas cancelled all flights in and out of Canberra Airport on Sunday as the capital was blanketed in an orange haze from bush fires. Some flights were diverted to Sydney.
Images: DailyMail.co.uk
Dozens of businesses closed over the weekend along with landmarks and attractions including the National Gallery of Australia and the National Portrait Gallery.


Even the department which oversees Australia's response to disasters and emergencies temporarily closed its Canberra headquarters as the capital was blanketed by smoke on Monday. 
The Department of Home Affairs and Australian Border Force (ABF) advised staff to stay home. 
The Department of Home Affairs sent an email to ACT-based staff instructing them to stay away from their offices for the next 48 hours — although "critical and operational front-line personnel" continued to work from alternative locations.
The air quality index in the CBD was close to 3,000. Anything above 200 is considered a health hazard. 
Canberra's air quality was the worst of any major city in the world at midday on Sunday.
The Bureau of Meteorology has reported it expects the heavy smoke-filled air to stay for several days.


Chief minister Andrew Barr said 100,000 face masks were being handed out to residents.


The Australian National University and the University of Canberra both closed their campuses, citing hazardous air concerns, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported. The Brumbies rugby union team, which trains at the University of Canberra, temporarily relocated to Newcastle.


As parliament is not sitting many politicians missed out on the air quality their policies have created. 


At least 21 people have died across several states in one the worst Australian bush fire seasons on record.  

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