Toxic Smog from Fires

Toxic Smog from Fires in Region Covers Moscow Again and Again

Terrible smog from fires in the region have covered the whole city of Moscow again and again. From the end of June, 2010, the heat in Moscow beat all records for the last 130 years and most people weren't prepared for such extraordinary climate conditions. Many people still don't have air conditioning in their apartments or private houses outside the city, so as you can guess, it is very hard times for millions of people here. Many families are trying to move their kids to safer areas where there are lower temperatures and no fires.  For example, they are trying to go to the Kalinigrad Region, which is the western point of Russia that is between Germany, Belorussia and the Baltic countries, but no airplane or train tickets are available.  Nor is anyone able to buy air-conditioning systems because of the tremendously increased demand.

The fires in the eastern and south-eastern part of the Moscow region were caused by peat bogs that were drained in Soviet times for citizens to build summer houses, known in Russia as “dachas”. Because so many people live in these areas, they are unable to supply extra water from nearby lakes and rivers. This is not the first hot summer in Moscow, and in past years, as in 2002, there were also many fires nearby. Since this summer is extremely hot and dry, the hottest and driest in several years, the situation with the smog all around the region and in the city of Moscow, has become worse than ever before. In addition to the extremely high temperatures, 35-40 degrees Centigrade (95-105 degrees Fahrenheit) in July and the beginning of August, there has also been no wind and no rain. So the toxic smog from the fires in the region, which are about 30 km from Moscow, have settled all around the city, entering and filling apartments and houses that don’t have air conditioning systems, and percolating into the subway stations.

During the past days and even weeks, I have seen a lot of old people walking late at night with gauze bandages because they can't sleep and they feel very sick. This is because their homes are soaked with smoke and the walls of their concrete buildings are overheated. I honestly have to say that on the streets it is just a bit better, even though the smog is everywhere and air temperatures are too high, even at night. In these past days I have seen too many ambulances driving on streets of Moscow with their car horns and flashing blue lights on. Lots of old people are leaving us now, especially those who had asthma or cardiovascular problems. My uncle, who is 77 years old, had a heart attack and is in the hospital's resuscitation department right now... Today, on August 7, is his birthday...

Yesterday, when many flights at the Domodedovo and Vnukovo airports were cancelled or moved to the Sheremetyevo airport (located in the north-west of Moscow where there was less smog and better visibility to land planes), I went to Red Square in the early morning to take shots of Famous Russian Landmarks that were covered with the dense shroud of toxic smog.

With Hotest Regards from Moscow,
Your Personal Guide & Driver

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Arthur Lookyanov

My name's Arthur Lookyanov, I'm a private tour guide, personal driver and photographer in Moscow, Russia. I work in my business and run my website Moscow-Driver.com from 2002. Read more about me and my services, check out testimonials of my former business and travel clients from all over the World, hit me up on Twitter or other social websites. I hope that you will like my photos as well.

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