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Poisonous smog returns to Moscow


A smog-blanket covers Moscow
A smog-blanket covers Moscow

Jill Colton, staff writer

August 15, 2010 — Carbon monoxide was wafting through the air in Moscow early Sunday at five times the normal level. An alarming smell was in the air.

Firefighters battling one of the many wildfires burning in Russia
Firefighters battling one of the many wildfires burning in Russia

The level of hydrocarbon emissions swirling around Moscow is at five times the normal levels, and there's an unpleasant smell accompanying the dirty air.

Officials predict that by Monday, strong wind gusts will disperse most of the smog.

This is good news for residents, as the acrid smoke has contributed to a higher death rate than usual over the past week. The polluted air had been hovering over the capital until early this week because of the wildfires burning outside the city. Currently, the wildfire count stands at 16.

Air quality has been affected in Moscow
Air quality has been affected in Moscow

The smoke has drifted into homes and businesses and grounded planes at airports.

This summer is the hottest since records began in Russia 130 years ago with daily highs reaching up to 38C compared with the usual summer average of 24C.

More than 50 people have died directly in the wildfires that have destroyed more than 2,000 homes. The combination of fires and drought have ruined a third of Russia's wheat crop.

Scientists believe the heatwave is a direct reflection of the global climate's increased instability.

With files from The Associated Press

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