Air pollution in Athens has surged in recent days because of people choosing wood over more expensive fuels to heat their homes in the grips of a continuing economic crisis, the environment ministry said Friday.

Particulate matter has been measured at 150 milligrammes per cubic metre, or three times the danger level, especially in the northern and western suburbs of the Greek capital, the ministry said.

The visible smog is reminiscent of that which cloaked the mountain-ringed city before it modernised its cars and buses.