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In mid-August, residents of Moscow noticed that visibility had deteriorated on the streets and an unpleasant smell appeared. Subsequently, it turned out that the reason for this phenomenon is large forest fires a few kilometers from the city. According to experts, despite poor visibility in many areas, the state of atmospheric air remains within normal limits and nothing threatens the people’s health. Nevertheless, many people have a question about what the smog hanging over cities is, what it consists of and what harm it can do to the human body. Humanity encounters this phenomenon regularly, and there are exhaustive answers to all this. Let’s get into the details, shall we?
Smog in Moscow in August 2022
According to data for August 22, an unpleasant smell and haze spread throughout all areas of the capital. The reason for the smog in Moscow is large forest fires that have been blazing for several days in the Ryazan region, located more than 300 kilometers from the city. It is believed that the smoke from the fires rises to a height of up to three kilometers and is carried over long distances by the southeast wind. The situation is aggravated by the fact that dry weather persists in Moscow with air temperatures up to +33 degrees. Against the background of reports of the smell of burning, control over the purity of the air has been strengthened – at the time of publication of the article, it is said that nothing threatens people’s health.
What is smog
Smog is a term that refers to excessive air pollution by harmful substances. Smog can be caused not only by forest fires, but also by many other factors: the operation of factories, a large number of cars, special weather conditions, disasters, and so on.
Based on this, it follows that the composition of smog is different, depending on the cause of occurrence. Basically, smog consists of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and also brown gas. On top of all this come ozone, gasoline fumes, solvents, pesticides and other chemicals, particulate matter like tiny particles of ash, dust, sand and pollen.
Why smog is dangerous to human health
All these substances in large quantities are of great harm to human health. It is believed that the smaller the particles, the higher the risk of disease – objects smaller than 10 micrometers can enter the bloodstream and adversely affect the functioning of internal organs, including the heart.
Smog is most dangerous for children and the elderly. Also at risk are people with heart and lung diseases – those who suffer from bronchitis and asthma should be especially careful. In most cases, when a person inhales pollution, shortness of breath, cough, headaches and insomnia occur. Also, people often suffer from irritation of the eyes and mucous membranes of the nose and larynx. During smog, there is an increase in the number of hospitalizations and exacerbation of existing diseases.
Why smog occurs in big cities
In most cases, smog occurs in large cities – in small settlements, and even more so in villages, this is a very rare occurrence. This is because cities tend to have many more cars, factories, and other sources of pollutants. As for the smog from wildfires, it lingers in cities due to the abundance of tall buildings and other obstacles that make it difficult for the wind to move.
In addition to this, in urban areas most often emergencies occur. For example, the smog in Moscow in 2002 was caused by peat fires in the Moscow region – there was smoke for several weeks, visibility was zero, and the city center was full of carbon monoxide. In 2010, peat fires in the Moscow region caused smog in St. Petersburg. The largest city of Kazakhstan, Alma-Ata, is often enveloped in smog due to its location in a foothill basin.
In general, air pollution is a big problem all over the Earth. Scientists regularly find negative consequences of this phenomenon.