In the last couple of days, Sydney has experienced levels of air pollution that were quite literally off the charts. At the South-West Sydney monitoring station of Oakdale, PM2.5 particle levels reached daily averages of 1,100 - five times of what is considered hazardous, even for healthy people.
In the evening of Dec 10 and in the morning of Dec 11, particle counts caused by nearby bushfires exceeded the "hazardous" threshold throughout the city for extended periods of time. In the evening of the 11th, levels had somewhat normalized. Australia is currently battling bush fires of epic proportions that have seen the country's most populous city as well as several other towns on the East Coast blanketed in smoke.
Air pollution momentarily reached even higher levels. PM2.5 levels in Rozelle were measured at 2,552 - twelve time of what is hazardous to humans. Camden and Liverpool also went up to levels above 1,000, if only for shorter periods of time.
All figures represented in the chart are 24-hour averages. The concentration of particles with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5 particles) in the air is of most concern to humans, because these particles can linger in the air for long periods of time and are easily inhaled.