OpinionResearch: More than 90% of air pollution in the...

Research: More than 90% of air pollution in the Middle East is caused by fossil fuels

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More than 90% of air pollution in the Middle East is caused by fossil fuels, not natural causes as previously thought, according to a study published Thursday in the scientific journal Communications Earth and Environment.

In 2017, an international team of scientists embarked on a long journey across the eastern Mediterranean, the Suez Canal and the Persian Gulf to measure air quality using specialized equipment.

Toxic elements like sulfur dioxide

They concluded that most of the fine particulate matter, which can penetrate deep into the lungs and therefore pose a significant health risk, comes from human activities, primarily the production and use of fossil fuels and coal.

This finding contradicts the earlier opinion that natural phenomena such as desert dust are what affect air quality in these areas.

Scientists have discovered a large presence of toxic elements, such as sulfur dioxide, associated with the oil and maritime industry.

“There are refineries, like in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, that are major sources of air pollution, as are ships in the Red Sea and the Suez Canal area,” said Jos Lelyveld, lead author and researcher on the study. at max. Plank Institute.

The team calculated the excess mortality from air pollution in the region each year and concluded that it is much higher than in western industrialized countries.

The study found that the number of deaths from air pollution reached 15.9% in Kuwait, 3% in the United States and 5.9% in Cyprus.

The study authors explained that one in eight deaths in the region can be attributed to fossil fuel pollution and that the air quality “consistently exceeds” World Health Organization standards.

“This is similar to very concerning issues like tobacco and cholesterol, which are significant health risks in these countries,” noted Lelyveld.

Source: EuroNews

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