High winds blow dust across the UAE, reducing air quality

Wind speeds could reach up to 40kph on Sunday

Hazy and dusty conditions on Al Reem Island in Abu Dhabi. Khushnum Bhandari / The National
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Air quality in parts of the UAE is worsening as a result of increased wind building from the south over the weekend.

Inland, wind speed could reach up to 25kph on Saturday, bringing with it poor driving conditions and the possibility for difficulties for those with respiratory conditions.

According to the IQ Air index, a global indicator of air quality, the air in parts of Dubai was considered “hazardous” at noon on Saturday.

The chief pollutants were PM10 (particulate matter up to 10 micrometres in size, where one micrometre is one-thousandth of a millimetre) and PM2.5 (up to 2.5 micrometres).

Particulate matter is composed of tiny particles from natural and human sources.

One of the worst-hit areas was Dubai Industrial Park, with an Air Quality Index (AQI) rating of 931, with nearby Jebel Ali Village registering an AQI of 881.

Temperatures on Saturday will also reach highs of 45ºC in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Wind strength from the south-east will fall along coastal areas, but speeds could increase to 40kph on Sunday, when it will be slightly cooler.

It will remain hot and humid across the country around the start of next week, with highs of 46ºC along the coast and humidity of about 80 per cent.

On average Dubai’s air measured at 592, or very unhealthy on Saturday. In Abu Dhabi, the air quality was measured at 168, or unhealthy.

Air pollution in Dubai comes from transport, construction, and sand storms along with other sources.

Expert advice

Doctors in the UAE, meanwhile, advised people to stay indoors and wear masks if they must go outside.

“In view of current dusty and windy conditions, it is advisable that people take precautions,” said Dr Kiran Kumar, head of internal medicine at Thumbay University Hospital in Ajman.

“Those who have respiratory illnesses, children and the elderly should preferably stay indoors and should avoid exposure to dust as much as possible. If they are outdoors they should wear masks.”

Dr Kumar said air pollution had several negative effects on health and well-being because those with underlying respiratory illnesses such as asthma can develop a worsening cough and experience difficulty breathing if exposed to dust and smoke.

“Chronic exposure is associated with impaired lung function and there are reports suggesting increased risk of heart disease as well,” he said.

Updated: July 08, 2023, 12:22 PM