Air Quality in Africa and Middle East

Posted on April 8th 2015
Share: aqicn.org/faq/2015-04-08/air-quality-in-africa-and-middle-east



Flag of the African Union
When talking about Air Quality, the first countries that comes to people's mind are China and India, and more generally Asia. Even on the World Air Quality Index project, Asia has always been, since the begining, our strong focus (most likely because this is where our HQ is located!).

Few years ago, in 2012, we decided to extend our scope to cover the other seven continents, starting with Oceania, and then following with Europe and North America, South America. But one of seven continents, namely Africa, has been surprisingly lacking behind. We received many inquiries about this lack of data, and one of the last was from Said E. who wrote:
Thanks for making the World Air Quality Index project site. It gives very useful information.
My only concern is why Africa is not considered.
For information I am a moroccan citizen.
There is actually a good reason for worrying about Air Quality in Northen Africa and Middle East, because of the Saharan dust. This amount of dust is so massive that it is even able to cross continents, and move towards south America but also Europe.

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We have been doing a lot of research on the available Air Quality monitoring in Africa (and Middle East), and the outcome is that only two countries in Africa are providing real-time data in Africa: Those two countries are Senegal and South Africa.

Fortunately, the World Health Organization (WHO) has been doing a very good work at making the updated 2014 inventory of the Outdoor Air Quality, available from who.int/phe/health_topics/outdoorair/en/.
From their inventory, it appears that except from the Republics of Senegal and South Africa which we already inventoried on the World Air Quality Index project, 4 other countries are also providing readings, namely: Ghana, Liberia, Tanzania and Mauritius.

Surprisingly, there is no mention of Morocco for which we found evidences of existing monitoring stations. The other surprise is for Kenya, which is the country where United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) HQ is located. One would expect that the UNEP takes the initative to setup a monitoring station on the rooftop of their building, just like the US consultates are now doing all over the world.

Not all of the countries mentionend in the WHO report is providing continuous readings: for some of them, the monitoring is a temporary project and the data is only available for a limited period of time. Anyways, as soon as we get hold of the data from the 4 new countries, we will be updating the World Air Quality Index project website. Meanwhile, one can get an idea of the current Air Quality condition with the map below, which is based on the real-time daily average remote satellite readings .

Africa map with PM2.5 AQI overlay, forcasted on Wed 1st Aug - 2018- Markers in blue are for Africa, and in purple for Middle East.
GhanaAccra - 4 residential and 1 roadside station in Accra
LiberiaBuchanan (rural) - 1 station: rural, 500m away from community, Osris Sanniquellie (rural) - 1 station: rural, within the community, Osiris monitors
MauritiusBeau Bassin/Rose Hill, Coromandel - 1 station: in town of Beau Bassin/Rose Hill Bramsthan, Flacq - 1 station: in Placq (rural) Midlands - 1 station: rural Port Louis - 1 station: urban St Louis city
SenegalDakar - 3 stations in capital city: 2 traffic, 1 urban for PM10; 1 station traffic for PM2.5
South AfricaCape Town (urban, total) - 7 stations: 6 urban (incl regional urban), 1 industrial Durban - 5 stations: urban, mostly residential Highveld Priority Area Network - 5 stations: residential Johannesburg - 6 stations: 2 no info, 3 background, 1 urbna/commercial/industrial Tshwane (Pretoria) (total, urban) - 6 stations: 3 no info, 3 residential/industrial Vaal Priority Area - 5 stations: urban, mostly residential Waterberg - 3 stations: residential
Unit. Rep. of TanzaniaMorogoro - 1 station, 2 measurement (during dry and wet season)

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For the readers interrested in the Middle East, the WHO is inventoring quite a few countries with monitoring data available. The one already inventoried on the World Air Quality Index project are United Arab Emirates, Iran, Qatar and Lebanon. Please note that at the time of writing, the Air Quality monitoring System for Abu Dhabi / UAE is not working, and has been in maintenance for several months (since Summer 2014). The monitoring System for Dubai is however working.

AfghanistanKabul - ISAF HQ - 1 station: urban Mazar-e Sharif - Camp Northern Lights - 1 station: urban outskirts
EgyptCairo - 48 stations (8 industrial, 9 urban, 5 residential, 10 traffic, 4 remote, 12 mixed) Delta cities - 13 stations (4 industrial, 4 urban, 2 residential, 1 remote, 2 mixed)
IranAhvaz - 1 station (residential) Khoramabad - 8 stations, covering the metropolis area Tehran - 7 stations with valid data: no information given about sites
JordanAmman - 4 stations: 2 high and 2 low pollution areas
LebanonBeirut - 3 stations in 1 city Tripoli - 01/2008-06/2008 (6 months)
PakistanKarachi - 3 stations in various location: 1 unknown, 1 industrial/residential, 1 commercial/residential Lahore - Johar Town - 1 station: residential Peshwar - 1 station: N/A Rawalpindi - 1 station: residential
BahrainHamad Town - 1 Residential urban station Hidd - 1 Residential urban station Ma'ameer - 1 Residential Industrial station (Mixed) Nabih Saleh - 1 Urban background station Ras Hayan - 1 Rural background station
OmanMuscat - 4 stations in 1 city: 1 commercial, 2 industrial, 1 unknown
QatarAl Wakrah - Mobile Station Doha - 3 stations
Saudi ArabiaJeddah - 7 stations: 3 residential, 3 urban and 1 suburban
United Arab EmiratesAbu Dhabi - 2 stations: 2 urban/residential Al Ain - Urban/ Residential -Al Ain School - 1 station: urban/residential Al Gharbia - Biya Zayed - 1 station: no information given

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Extract of the World Health Organization Ambient (outdoor) air pollution in cities database

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    關於空氣質量與空氣污染指數

    本網站採用的污染指數和顏色與EPA是完全相同的。 EPA的指數可以從 AirNow上查到

    空气质量指数空气质量指数级别(状况)及表示颜色对健康影响情况建议采取的措施
    0 - 50一级(优)空气质量令人满意,基本无空气污染各类人群可正常活动
    51 -100二级(良)空气质量可接受,但某些污染物可能对极少数异常敏感人群健康有较弱影响极少数异常敏感人群应减少户外活动
    101-150三级(轻度污染)易感人群症状有轻度加剧,健康人群出现刺激症状儿童、老年人及心脏病、呼吸系统疾病患者应减少长时间、高强度的户外锻炼
    151-200四级(中度污染)进一步加剧易感人群症状,可能对健康人群心脏、呼吸系统有影响儿童、老年人及心脏病、呼吸系统疾病患者避免长时间、高强度的户外锻炼,一般人群适量减少户外运动
    201-300五级(重度污染)心脏病和肺病患者症状显著加剧,运动耐受力降低,健康人群普遍出现症状儿童、老年人及心脏病、肺病患者应停留在室内,停止户外运动,一般人群减少户外运动
    300+六级(严重污染)健康人群运动耐受力降低,有明显强烈症状,提前出现某些疾病儿童、老年人和病人应停留在室内,避免体力消耗,一般人群避免户外活动
    (参考详见http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/空气质量指数)

    如果你想了解更多有關空氣質量與污染,詳見維基百科或者 AirNow

    有關健康建議詳​​見北京的Richard Saint Cyr MD醫生的博客:www.myhealthbeijing.com


    注意事項: 所有空氣品質數據在發佈時均未經驗證,且為了確保資料準確性,這些數據可能隨時被修改,恕不另行通知。 世界空氣品質指數專案在編制這些訊息內容時已經謹慎的運用了所有適當的技巧,在任何情況下世界空氣品質指數在任何情況下,世界空氣品質指數專案團隊或其代理人均不對因提供此數據而直接或間接引起的任何損失、傷害或損害來承擔契約、侵權或其他責任。



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