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Moscow supplies only a fraction of its own oxygen

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Moscow, a city with about 11 million permanent residents, can itself produce only 10% of the oxygen it needs, a wildlife protection center expert said Monday.
MOSCOW, September 4 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow, a city with about 11 million permanent residents, can itself produce only 10% of the oxygen it needs, a wildlife protection center expert said Monday.

Lyudmila Volkova said that environmental standards envision 24 square meters of greenbelt for each Muscovite, as opposed to the current 16 square meters.

The building boom of recent years, and the region's growing wealth as reflected in the number of cars now navigating Moscow streets, has strained what has always been a burdened city infrastructure. And whereas as late as 1996, there were only 8.7 million Muscovites, that number has now grown to 11 million, with new arrivals every day.

Volkova said Moscow survives at the expense of other regions, giving it "stable climate, precipitation and fresh air." But on a day with no wind blowing, she said, the Russian capital faces extreme heat and air pollution, which results in a lack of oxygen, which is in many respects a result of the heavy traffic now found on city streets.

She said such a situation, if left unchecked, could precipitate a drama similar to the ones in Paris in July 2006, when more than 100 people died in the summer heat, and in 2003, when the death toll reached 15,000 during a summer heat wave.

Volkova urged increasing the number of green areas in the city to protect its residents from hypoxia.

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