FILE – Mist and clouds cover Cairo’s sky Monday, December 4, 2017
CAIRO – 25 September 2019: As part of a preventive strategy based on monitoring air pollutants through 75 stations, the Ministry of Health analyzes the air in 19 governorates, in a bid to avoid health risks associated with inhaling smoke resulting from burning excess rice straw every fall.
“Black Clouds” is the name of the recurring polluting phenomenon the government has been fighting for years, seeking to ban the practice of burning agricultural leftovers, which is only one factor causing the thick smoke blankets over the Delta.
The Black Cloud is regarded as one of the main causes of climate change, and its serious health issues required a more strict approach.
For more details about Black Clouds phenomenon, read this:
CAIRO - 30 December 2018: The recurring phenomenon of "Black Clouds" has always been a headache for the government, which has been fighting for years the practice of burning agricultural leftovers. A cloud of thick smoke blankets the Delta each autumn, leaving the country with reportedly high levels of pollution and serious respiratory diseases.
While the air might seem clear during the phenomenon, the Health Ministry said that smoke particles remain in the sky for even a longer time after the fires are put out, which may result in respiratory diseases to inhalers.
The ministry's statement went on explaining that “while inhaling the smoke, a person would experience coughing or whistling during breathing, whether he suffers from respiratory issues or not.”
What to do when inhale smoke?
The ministry statement cited some preliminary steps that should be taken to help people who were exposed to smoke, including resting at home until symptoms fade out, while patients with asthma should take their prescribed medication.
“In case a person experiences eye redness, he should wash his eyes with water, and drink large amounts of liquids. The patient is advised to change his clothes, and take a shower immediately,” read the statement. If the symptoms continue, patients then should see a doctor, or head to the nearest hospital to receive necessary medical aid.
The ministry advised citizens to close the windows when smoke is seen in the skies to avoid its leak into the house. This is in addition to the use of active carbon filters and ion filters in domestic air purifiers to ensure good ventilation.
Health Minister Adviser for Endemic Preventive Affairs Alaa Eid said that a number of symptoms that accompany smoke inhalation should be monitored such as loss of physical activity, high cough that sometimes comes with whistling, skin paleness or change in color, hard breath, in addition to the feeling of tiredness.
Eid further clarified that the ministry is tracking air pollutants according to their various geographical existences, in addition to monitoring the extent of change in air pollution levels, its reasons and steps taken to confront it.
"The ministry has a specific approach in monitoring air pollutants in accordance with the Global Environment Monitoring System (GEMS) of the United Nations, which includes taking samples on a regular basis per the Egyptian Environmental Protection Law, through 75 air monitoring stations distributed among 19 governorates," Eid revealed.
The monitoring stations analyze several elements in the air like: sulfur dioxide, smoke, total suspended dust, inhaled particles of all kinds (PM2.5 - PM10)) and heavy elements such as "copper, lead, manganese, chromium, nickel, zinc, cadmium, aluminum, barium, silver, boron, Iron, selenium, antimony, and arsenic.