Air pollution levels across parts of New South Wales today are amongst the worst in the world.
The worst air quality in Sydney today was at Rozelle, in Sydney’s inner west, with an air quality index reading of 2,552 AQI (between 11am and 12pm).
“That is more than 12 times the threshold for “hazardous” air quality,” said Climate Councillor and health expert Professor Hilary Bambrick.
“These are the health consequences of a changing climate that health professionals have been warning us about. Climate change is supercharging bushfires and that is what we are seeing now with massive, unprecedented fires producing unbreathable air,” she said.
“Those most at immediate risk from the smoke are children, older people, those who work outside and those with underlying health conditions, such as cardiovascular and respiratory disease. We would expect to see a spike in ambulance call-outs and emergency hospital admissions over the coming days and weeks as a result,” said Professor Bambrick.
“But we also don’t actually know what the long-term impacts of this air pollution will be,” she said.
“It is now so severe that the smoke and pollution is seeping into people’s homes and workplaces, where they have been told to take refuge,” she said.
“It is not just today either, Sydney has been blanketed in smoke pollution for several weeks, as has Brisbane where I live,” said Professor Bambrick.
“It has been very disappointing to see the burning silence from the Federal Government during this bushfire crisis. Millions of people have been breathing really polluted air for over a month,” she said.
“This is a crisis for people’s health, for communities and the environment. Our leaders need to acknowledge that this is climate change and do far more to swiftly and urgently lower our greenhouse gas emissions, in order to protect Australians’ health today, and into the future,” said Professor Bambrick.
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