A blanket of smoke smothering Sydney has seen the city’s air quality fall to levels worse than is being experienced in parts of Beijing.
It’s prompted NSW health authorities to issue warnings that people with respiratory conditions, and the young and elderly, stay indoors.
The hovering smoke is from hazard reduction burns carried out around Sydney at the weekend, with NSW Fire & Rescue saying the air is not expected to completely clear until Wednesday.
According to the state’s official air quality index, Sydney’s north west and south west recorded “hazardous” levels of air quality. The city as a whole was given a “very poor” rating as of Tuesday afternoon.
On a wider scale, the World Air Quality Index rated Sydney’s air quality as 164, while inner Beijing is listed as an “unhealthy” 152.
Air pollution in Beijing is generally better during the northern hemisphere summer months.
By mid-afternoon, paramedics had treated more than 50 people with asthma or breathing difficulties across Sydney.