Meeting of the WHO, WMO, UNEP and the countries of North Africa and the Middle East on the impact of desert dust on health. Amman, Jordan, 2 – 5 November 2015.
First Africa – Middle East export meeting and workshop on the health impact of airborne dust was held in Amman, Jordan, 2 -5 November 2015. The event was performed under the umbrella of the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP).
North Africa and the Middle East present among the highest concentrations of breathable particles, PM10 type (diameter smaller than 10 microns), in the world, with a mean value of about 200 µg/m3, well above the maximum level of 20 µg/m3, recommended by the WHO.
What are the health effects of the exposure to such high PM10 concentrations?
What are the impacts on the environment?
How can such impacts be mitigated?
These high concentrations of PM10 are the results of (i) natural emissions of desert dust, (ii) enhanced emissions of soil due to change in the use of soil by man, (iii) emissions of anthropogenic sources (vehicles, industry,…), y (iv) scarce precipitation rates
An assessment of how the forecast products and observations systems could be optimized for performing studies on dust impacts on health and the environment. Although some studies have shown an association between exposure to dust and respiratory, ocular and (in some cases) cardiovascular diseases, it is necessary to improve the dust observations systems and the clinic data compilation to perform health effects studies. Dust has a transboundary nature and for this reason dust impacts and mitigation studies should be transnational, by the cooperation of international organizations and meteorological services, health systems, environmental agencies of several countries in a regional scale.
The WHO, WMO, UNEP, AEMET, BSC, EUMETSAT and representatives of Mauritania, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Burkina Faso, Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Yemen, United Arab Emirate and Bahrain participated in the meeting/workshop.
Pictures of the participants in the First Africa – Middle East export meeting and workshop on the health impact of airborne dust was held in Amman, Jordan, 2 -5 November 2015.
The city of Amman was affected during an intense dust storm during the meeting, resulting in PM10 concentrations exceeding 1400 µg/m3.