Turkey: Scientists warn Istanbul's residents against air pollution

Turkey: Scientists warn Istanbul's residents against air pollution
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People living in Istanbul have been urged by scientists to take precautions against high air pollution levels, and even to stay home as the situation is exacerbated by high air pressure.

Turkish experts warned on Tuesday that air pollution levels in Istanbul are recently in critical levels in particular districts, and that residents in such areas should even refrain from leaving homes or opening windows.

Prof. Dr. Selahattin Incecik, board member of Air Pollution Research and Control Turkish National Committee, said:

"We have observed that air pollution levels, specifically the particle levels are way above standards in Istanbul. The levels exceed standards in many areas of Istanbul for the most part of the year."

Incecik added:

"In foggy days, when the areas are under the influence of high air pressure, the standards are exceeded almost everywhere except for the Princes' Islands and some parts of the Bosporus. Dramatic levels are observed in the district of Esenyurt. Particle concentrations reach 250 micrograms per cubic meter. The same holds for Goztepe neighborhoods in the district of Kadikoy. People shouldn't even open windows in those areas. This will continue till Wednesday."

Pulmonary specialist Prof. Dr. Bilun Gemicioglu from Cerrahpasa Medical Faculty said that people with respiratory illnesses, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are suffering breathing difficulties because of high air pollution levels, adding:

"It also has a very negative effect on those with coronary diseases. We recommend that the elderly and children refrain from leaving homes nowadays, because they may have breathing difficulties outside. People should try not to go out in the morning hours, and they should stay away from physical exercise outside."

Gemicioglu also noted that people should wear protective masks to avoid viral infections, adding, "Air pollution is one of the reasons that cause persistent cough."

According to an interactive map, the particle concentration in Istanbul's Esenyurt district was 152 micrograms per cubic meter on Tuesday. Areas in Turkey are marked by air quality index (AQI) colors on the map, and Esenyurt is marked red, or unhealthy.