World

KI bushfire smoke made Adelaide's air quality among the worst in the world

KI bushfire smoke made Adelaide's air quality among the worst in the world

Adelaide’s air quality was ranking among the worst in the world this morning as smoke from the Kangaroo Island bushfires drifted across the city.

The city recorded an Air Quality Index of 168 at about 6.30am, making it the 11th worst city in the world for air quality and pollution in the world at the time, according the AirVisual website.

Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan was the most polluted with an AQI of 417, while Kabul, Afghanistan; Delhi, India; Skopje, North Madedonia; Dhaka, Bangladesh,; Pristina, Kosovo; Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia; Lahore Pakistan; Sarajevo, Bosnia; and Shenyang, China round of the top ten more polluted cities.

By 7.45am, Adelaide’s AQI was 134, making it around the 23rd worst city for air quality.

And by 10.30am, the city was recording an AQI of 57, the same as Shanghai, China and Johannesburg, South Africa.

The SA Environment Protection Authority deemed the air quality in the Adelaide CBD, and Adelaide’s west, northwest, north and south as “very poor” – the worst ranking possible.

Port Augusta, Whyalla and Port Pirie have also recorded “very poor” air quality.

Emergency services were inundated with Triple 0 calls from Adelaide residents this morning as thick smoke from the KI bushfires blankets the city.

SA Police said there had been an increase in the number of calls to Triple 0 reporting smoke and urged residents to consider if it was from the Kangaroo Island blazes before they dial Triple 0.

“While we don’t want people to be complacent about the risk of fire, bear in mind smoke may be from the KI fires,” it said in a statement.

Police said the smoke caused hazy conditions on roads and asked motorists to slow down, allow extra space between vehicles, be patient and turn headlights on.

SA Health warned the smoke “could pose a serious threat to health, particularly for vulnerable people with lung or heart conditions”.

SA Health chief public health officer Dr Nicola Spurrier said the combined effects of the recent hot weather and the poor air quality from the bushfires meant people should take extra precautions.

Smoke haze over Adelaide from the KI bushfires, taken from Mitcham.

“We are using people to stay indoors where possible, avoid physical exercise outdoors and reduce their exposure to smoky air,” she said.

“People should keep windows and doors shut and ventilate the house once the smoke clears.

“If possible, avoid running evaporative air conditioners which draw in external air. Switch your car airconditioning to recirculate.”

SA Health said people with asthma and other respiratory conditions should follow their actions plans, including carrying their prescribed reliever medication with them at all times.

Smoke inhalation symptoms include difficulty breathing, coughing, chest tightness, heart palpitation, fatigue, itchy or burning eyes, throat irritation, a runny nose and illnesses such as bronchitis.