Saharan dust plume reduces air quality and visibility in Caribbean

Saharan dust plume reduces air quality and visibility in Caribbean

A thick blanket of Saharan dust continues to affect the Caribbean region plunging the air quality to unhealthy levels for some people.  

The Antigua and Barbuda Meteorological Service says the air quality is at unhealthy levels for sensitive groups, due to particulate matters 2.5 and 10, associated with a notable surge in Saharan Dust.  

It said the threat of health problems is medium, for mainly unusually sensitive people, such as asthmatics and people with other respiratory issues, allergies, cardiovascular problems and eye and skin irritations, and could potentially cause significant health impacts.  

This episode of reduced air quality is expected to end on Tuesday afternoon for Antigua and Barbuda.  

In St Vincent and the Grenadines, the Meteorological Service in its 72 hour-weather outlook issued on Monday said Vincentians should be wary of reduced air quality due to the Saharan dust, which is expected to reduce around Wednesday night.  

The Dominica Meteorological Service has informed citizens that high concentration of Saharan dust haze is expected to remain across the area. It said a reduction in concentration is expected by Thursday. The met service said low visibility and poor air quality are expected for the period. People with respiratory sensitivities should take all the necessary precautions to avoid complications. Small craft operators venturing out to sea have also been told that they should take along the necessary equipment for safe navigation. 

In the British Virgin Islands a Saharan dust advisory was also issued today. The Department of Disaster Management said a large plume of Saharan dust is expected to impact the territory for the next 48 hours. The Air Quality Index (AQI) is above 100 which is very high. Some of the effects from the dust include a dry cough, runny nose, itchy eyes or a sore throat. Persons at risk have been advised to stay indoors as much as possible or to wear a mask if venturing outside.  

In St Maarten, the Meteorological Department advised the public that a thick plume of Saharan dust is affecting the region, reducing visibility and air quality through the next couple of days. Persons with allergies or respiratory illnesses have been advised to take the necessary precautions.  

  • PublishedApril 23, 2024

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