fbpx Skip to main content

Recently, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has ranked 7th worldwide in terms of outdoor air pollution according to the 2023 World Air Quality Report. But what does this mean for residents, and what steps can be taken to mitigate its effects?

This isn’t propaganda or fake news. Even the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MoCCAE) has acknowledged the report that was based on annual average PM2.5 concentration. (Note: The concentration of small air particles called PM2.5 is used to compare air quality as they are responsible for most air pollution today.)

Countries where avg. PM2.5 concentration (micrograms per cubic meter) exceeded WHO guidelines seven to 10 times in 2023
Source: IQAir

The report found that in 2023 alone, the UAE had a PM2.5 concentration of 43µg/m3. The World Health Organization (WHO) set an annual guideline value of 5µg/m3. That means the UAE has exceeded the guideline by seven to ten times.

A snapshot of air quality levels in the UAE at 1PM on March 31st, 2024

However, the main reason for the high levels of air pollution in the UAE is the geographical location itself, where there exist high levels of dust accompanied by high humidity levels for most of the year that trap fine particles in the breathing zone.

Here’s what you can do for yourself

Start monitoring the outdoor air quality: There are free resources online such as MSN’s weather forecast app which includes a feature for air quality monitoring. Doing this can help you gauge whether you might need to limit your outdoor activities or wear a mask when going outside (especially if you have or are susceptible to respiratory disorders like asthma).

Safeguard your home: The Dubai Building Code has strict and high-quality standards for indoor air quality concerning HVAC design and other measures. This is easily enforced in organizations where we rarely find poor air quality metrics in our on-site assessments. However, your home is your responsibility, and you need to make sure that you have good MERV-8 or higher air filters that are regularly maintained as a start. This will prevent most of the outdoor particles from going into your house.

Maintain your HVAC system: You might have been exposed to ads for AC duct cleaning services. While they do not prevent pollution from creeping in, they can help improve the efficiency of your AC, reduce the risk of mold exposure in your AC ducts, and clean your AC filters which require a cleaning at least once every 3 months or according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.

References:

Salim, S. (2024). UAE ranks 7th on list of countries with most polluted air; ministry highlights challenges. Khaleej Times. Retrieved April 1, 2024, from https://www.khaleejtimes.com/uae/uae-highlights-challenges-as-it-ranks-7th-on-list-of-countries-with-most-polluted-air

Leave a Reply

× How can I help you?