Governor G.Patoulis has activated the Operational Center’s 1110 Health Protection Helpline for tourists and citizens
Governor of Attica Region G. Patoulis urges tourists and visitors who are in Attica during the present time to protect themselves from the wildfire smoke, use a mask or reduce outdoors activities when the levels of particulates in the air are high, stay up-to-date with current conditions and follow official guidelines. Tourists may call for free 1110, for health protection guidelines, the Attica Region's Public Health Protection helpline.
George Patoulis: "We are aimed at protecting travelers' health, so we strongly recommend tourists and visitors in Attica Region to follow precautions to reduce their exposure to smoke and ash while the wildfires are still burning. The helpline 1110 is activated for special precautionary instructions to citizens, as well as tourists in Attica during the current days. Travelers should check the regional air quality reports."
Attica Region monitors air quality
Attica Region in collaboration with the National Observatory of Athens is on the alert for recording and mapping high levels of concentration of PM2.5 particles and soot, exploiting data from a dense network of sensors deployed in the Region and state-of-the-art instrumentation at the center of the city.
According to these data, particularly high levels have been recorded over the Attica basin during Wednesday to Friday along the axis spanning from the Northern parts of the Region, where the fires are burning, towards the Central part, as well as Piraeus . After the first days when the basin was directly within the plume of the smoke, the existing pattern in the following days so far shows higher concentrations prevailing in the morning and at night time, warning citizens and tourist for further caution.
Regarding the overall evolution of the quality of the atmosphere in the last 24 hours, it is gradually improving especially compared to the first two days of the fire, and in the morning today, August 7, the conditions are considerably improved compared to the corresponding hours yesterday, August 6th, although they continue to be characterized as burdensome in most areas of the basin.
Risks form Wildfire Smoke
Wildfire smoke is a mix of hazardous gases and fine particles from burning trees and plants, buildings, and other material. Close to the fires, but also many kilometers away, smoke can still be of serious health risk, because it contains a mixture of gases and small particles part of them toxic that can irritate the eyes and respiratory system. Exposure to particulate matter is the main public health threat from short-term exposure to wildfire smoke.
Wildfire smoke irritates eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. It can make it hard to breathe and make you cough or wheeze. Children pregnant women, and people with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or heart disease, need to be especially careful about inhaling wildfire smoke.
Air quality recent findings by the National Observatory of Athens
Data from the network of sensor of the Institute for Environmental Research of the National Observatory of Athens (IERSD / NOA),), which operates within frame of the the National Research Infrastructure PANACEA, shows the following, regarding the fluctuation of concentration of PM2.5 particulates in Attica basin during the last 24 hours:
- During the afternoon hours of Friday 6 August and for the rest of the day, the levels remained moderate to low (<25 μg m-3), with transient peaks in the Central and North sector after 19:00 in the afternoon.
- In the midnight hours of August 7 (0:00 to 5:00) a significant burden was observed (up to 100 μg m-3) in areas of the Northern Sector (Pefki, Chalandri).
- In the early morning hours of 7 August (6:00 to 11:00) there was a relative decrease in levels in the Northern sector (<50 μg m-3), accompanied by a parallel increase in the Western and Southern sectors and mainly in the Central sector, where a significant load was observed (> 50 μg m-3). Levels in the Piraeus area remained moderate to low throughout the last 24 hours.
- From 11:00 onwards, the situation shows improvement, throughout the Basin, with concentrations in Western Attica ranging at low levels and in the East at moderate levels.
The levels of particulate pollution can change at any time depending on the direction and intensity of the prevailing winds in the area, as well as the spatial evolution of the fire. In any significant change of the situation there will be a new update.
Information on hourly basis is provided by the platform of the National Infrastructure PANACEA (https://air-quality.gr/)
Governor of Attica Region G. Patoulis stated: "I call on the residents, but as well the tourists in Attica during the current days to be constantly informed about air quality levels and use a mask, N95, KN95 or FFP2 mask, when the concentration of PM2.5 particulates is increased .
The Civil Protection Sector and the Directorate of Climate Change of Attica Region work closely with the competent Atmospheric Physics and Chemistry Group (http://apcg.meteo.noa.gr/) of the National Observatory of Athens in the framework of the Observatory of Air Pollution and Climate Change.
We are constantly monitoring the development of the phenomenon and informing citizens, visitors and tourists.
Public Health and Traveler’s Health remain a top priority of our governance in Attica Region ".