Health warning as thick smog blankets Sydney for second time

The scene at Turramurra this morning. (Photo: Megan Flynn/Macleay)

Emergency services are warning people with asthma or emphysema to stay indoors today as another thick blanket of smoke has blown in from the North Coast engulfing the Sydney Region.

The smoke settled over the city blurring the skyline and posing a danger in particular to children and the elderly with lung or heart conditions.

The NSW Ambulance service was inundated with emergency calls this morning, with a spokesperson warning: “With the heavy smoke around today, we would like to remind those with respiratory issues to take extra care. Please remember if you have a pre-existing medical condition make sure you have all your medications with you and readily available.”

Manly Beach this morning. (Photo: Matisse Newson/Macleay)

For the second time this week we’ve seen air quality plummet to hazardous lows. According to the AIR Quality Index (AQI) any air pollution above 200 is considered hazardous, the air quality in some areas of Sydney is sitting at over 1,000 this morning. On Tuesday there were more than 60 people treated for asthma or breathing related conditions.

Last Tuesday when the air quality and fire hazard was this extreme over 600 schools in Queensland and NSW were temporarily shut down. On that day Sydney recorded the worst pollution of anywhere in the world.

Today is shaping up to be even worse.

The Harbour Bridge is completely concealed. (Photo: Ari Kimber/Macleay)

In a statement released by Education Minister Sarah Mitchell she said if there was a danger to children due to a school’s location it was best to ‘keep them home’.

“Safety remains the number one priority,” she added. “If it is not safe to travel to school please do not attend – and inform your school.”

The smokey haze that blanketed the city on Tuesday morning cleared by later that day however this time the smoke is expected to stick around for at least two days.

Motorists drive through the haze on the M2 at Winston Hills in Sydney’s north-west. (Photo: James Yousif/Macleay)

Jordan Notara from the Bureau of Meteorology told the Sydney Morning Herald the smoke blowing from the state’s north will continue all through Thursday.

“We may see again some coastal areas clear slightly but we aren’t expecting a significant change in the wind direction that would suggest a clear shift in this smoke throughout the day.”

Hot, windy conditions are forecast across the states North West and fire bans are in place over 12 NSW regions with parts of NSW’s west expected to reach temperatures up to 40 degrees C.

Blake Mannes, a 19-year-old student, said the smoke had stirred up his asthma.

“I woke up feeling terrible, the smoke had opened up my airways causing me to wheeze and flair up my asthma,” he added.

“It all seemed like a trap – to allow breeze in my apartment the windows have to be opened, but that also creates an entrance for the smoke.”