Australians living in areas affected by the raging bushfires are taking to Twitter and Instagram to post thoughtful, reasoned and informative responses to the crisis, attempting to understand it in the context of increasingly severe weather patterns around the world, the average temperature of which is rising steadily largely owing to human activity.
Just kidding. Australians are taking to Twitter and Instagram to pose for selfies in their shiny new face masks, which they have been advised to wear to avoid inhaling all the smog (composed of carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide among other things) blanketing their cities and towns. It’s bushfire chic!
“Sydney it’s time to get serious,” one person wrote on Instagram, “but keep doing it in style! #sydneysmoke #stayclassysydney”
News.com.au reports that “Some mask wearers have posted selfies compared [sic] themselves to superheroes.”
The P2 dust mask from Outback Mask is particularly popular at the moment, though the company’s founder, Nick Avery, said Australians “need to put their health over ‘fashion first.’”
Plugging his company’s mask, Avery said the flimsy fabric masks from Asia don’t do the job.
“Heavy metals can accumulate over time,” he told News.com.au. “A P2 mask is designed to filter out particles down to 3 microns.”
The bushfires have been plaguing large sectors of the country for may weeks now and have been described as the most intense Australia has ever seen. Just today, six new emergency warnings were issued in response to fires in NSW. According to a statement from the Bureau of Meteorology, the harmful smoke will hang in the air until this weekend while a spokesperson for the NSW environmental department said the fires have caused “some of the highest air pollution ever seen in NSW.”
“NSW has experienced elevated levels of pollutants as a result of smoke from the bushfire emergency, and dust caused by the severe drought,” the spokesperson continued. “NSW has experienced other periods of poor air quality that lasted several weeks, including the 1994 Sydney bushfires and the Black Christmas bushfires of December 2001 to January 2002. This event, however, is the longest and the most widespread in our records.”