Arab countries suffer from air pollution that exceeds the world’s borders more than 10 times – Nadine Sharrouf

Landmarks of air pollution began to emerge with the onset of the industrial revolution, in the eighteenth century, when industrialization and the rapid growth of the world’s population led to an increase in fossil fuel consumption to meet the increasing demand for energy, a growth in agricultural activity to ensure global food security and an accumulation of waste. And the clearing of forests, with consequences for air quality and the environment in general.

Indoor and outdoor air pollution is associated with a wide variety of acute and chronic health effects, including heart and lung diseases and various cancers. In addition to the environmental effects, represented by acid rain, poor visibility of roads and damage to plants.

The air in the Arab region is considered the most polluted, as the high emissions on the roads in the Arab region are the result of running out of date vehicles, inefficient use of fuel and poor exhaust gas control. While the rules regulating air quality on the roads in most Arab countries are either missing or incomplete and not comprehensive.

Air quality indicators in Arab countries often exceed WHO guidelines by 5 to 10 times in some regions. This low quality is due to natural and human factors. On the one hand, the air quality is negatively influenced by sea salt and dust particles, on the other hand it is related to human activity where the emissions are concentrated.

In this regard, the report of the Arab Forum for Environment and Development “AFED” indicates that emissions in the Middle East and North Africa have increased five times over the past three decades as a result of the increasing demand for water, energy and transportation. In the Gulf states, passenger car dominance over modes of transport is increasing, increasing traffic congestion and increasing emissions. Note that vehicles on public roads in most countries of the Middle East and North Africa are responsible for 59 percent of the region’s nitrogen oxides, and they also produce 90 percent of carbon dioxide and 75 percent of volatile organic compounds .

Most countries in the Arab region suffer from a high percentage of particulate matter in the air, so an overview of data from several countries in the region, including Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Syria, Qatar, the Emirates and Lebanon shows that the concentrations of suspended particles with a size smaller than 2.5 microns are higher than the guide value determined by us. World Health Organisation. While the health damage of suspended particles increases the smaller they are.

In Gulf Cooperation Council countries, 54 percent of these particulate levels are due to dust, sandstorms and oil combustion in power plants.

The risk of pollution is not limited to the outside air, but also the indoor air. As many studies conducted in the Arab countries indicate the existence of significant indoor air pollution. So that indoor air pollution is increasing significantly in Gulf Cooperation Council countries as citizens are forced to stay indoors longer due to climatic conditions and the continuous operation of air conditioners for long hours, indoor smoking and overcrowding.

Indoor air quality in Arab countries is strongly affected by tobacco smoking, especially the prevalence of smoking hookahs in enclosed spaces. Children are more sensitive to indoor pollution because they spend hours in unventilated places, such as schools, that do not have adequate heaters or provide no cooling air treatment.

On the other hand, indoor and outdoor air pollution is associated with an increase in health risks. According to the measure of the overall burden of disease, which is expressed as the number of years of life lost due to ill health, disability or premature death, the years of healthy life lost reach every 100,000 Arab citizens due to Air pollution ranges from 5 years in Iraq, 3 years in Libya and Djibouti, 2 years in Egypt and so on in other countries. In a study conducted in Lebanon, living in urban areas near traffic was linked to lung cancer. Exposure to air pollution, especially nitric oxide, has also been linked to several cancers.

Air quality is also affected by global warming, as dust storms from the great deserts of the Arabian Peninsula have increased in frequency and intensity in recent years, likely leading to an increase in death rates, asthma and other respiratory diseases.

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