Sahara dust significantly above WHO standard for good air quality – EPA

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

See full statement from the Environmental Protection Agency:

The Environmental Protection Agency hereby issues an update on its advisory posted January 30, 2024 via social media. Today, visibility remains affected by Saharan Dust and the level of particulate matter (dust particles) in the atmosphere has increased.

EPA’s Air Quality Sensors located at Whim, Eccles, Vilvoorden, Central Georgetown and Linden all show particulate matter levels significantly above the WHO standard for ‘Good’ air quality. The EPA advises, the haze caused by Saharan Dust will continue to develop and as such, extra caution should be taken on the roadways.

NASA has forecast a continued presence of the dust plume, dating to February 07, 2024.

The Saharan Dust Plume is a layer of sand, dirt and dust lifted from the Sahara Desert in North Africa. It is transported by the trade winds from North Africa over the Atlantic Ocean, through the Caribbean and South America. The reach of the plume is dependent on the wind and weather. The Saharan Dust Plume is a normal phenomenon that may occur several times throughout the year.

The elderly, children and persons who have respiratory, and skin conditions are encouraged to take necessary precautions. During this time, persons are encouraged to spend more time indoors and to wear dust masks as practicable.

Data collected by the EPA on the Saharan Dust Plume within the last 2 years indicates peak concentrations may occur in January, March, April, August and September. Any changes to the forecast of peak concentrations will be reported by the EPA.

For a near real-time update on the Air Quality Index near you, visit the EPA’s website: https://epaguyana.org/ and select the ‘Your Environment’ and then click ‘Air quality Data’.