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Relief on its way for allergy sufferers as Moscow prunes poplars

MOSCOW, June 14 (RIA Novosti) - Muscovites may soon be offered some respite from summer "blizzards" of poplar seeds as a campaign to plant non-wool poplar trees swings into action, an official from the Russian capital's administration said Wednesday.

Poplar wool, known locally as "pukh" and similar to large dandelion clocks, has been enveloping Moscow for two to three weeks in June since the end of World War II, heaping misery on allergy sufferers and irritating millions of others by invading clothing and rooms through open windows.

But Marina Orlova, a spokesperson for the city's housing and communal department, said relief could be on the way with the planting of new non-wool trees and a campaign to cut offshoots from existing trees.

"It will give [us] a break of four to five years: the tree will not bear wool while new offshoots are growing," Orlova said, adding that sources of poplar wool were also being sprayed with special inhibitors.

The official said the trees, which were originally planted after the war as fast-growing and undemanding species to brighten up the capital, were very important for an industrial city like Moscow because they produced a great deal of oxygen and acted as disinfectants of the air.

"We cannot get rid of all poplar trees in one go and it is not something we want to do because they are an essential element of Moscow's green shield," she said, but added that eventually the capital would suffer less from the spores.

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