The Moscow city government has limited the number of face masks sold to an individual to ten in order to avoid scalping them amid heavy smog in the capital, head of the Moscow Health Department Andrei Seltsovsky said on Monday.
Peat bog and forest fires raging outside the capital pushed pollution levels to new 2010 highs on Saturday, with carbon monoxide 6.5 times the maximum allowable concentration. Muscovites have been recommended to stay indoors and keep their windows closed, and to use wet multi-gauze masks while outside.
Some people have bought 1,000-1,500 masks each and are selling them for 50 rubles ($1.67) each in public places, Seltsovky said. The official price of a multi-layered gauze mask in Moscow is 7 rubles ($0.23), he added.
"We have stopped the sale of large quantities of masks per person and have limited sales to 10 masks per person," Seltsovsky said.
On Monday, the carbon monoxide level in the city registered twice the maximum allowable, and Muscovites continue to buy gauze masks in large quantities.
The stock of masks in Moscow is sufficient, Seltsovsky said, adding that it is about 3.2 million masks on hand.