EGYPT – Air Pollution

Recently, I travelled to Egypt and I had the pleasure to visit and see many fantastic and immense monuments like the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Abu Simbel temples and many others. A fantastic journey through ancient Egypt which literally transfers you to this great ancient civilization.

It rarely rains in Egypt and the temperature in summer can easily reach 48ºC/118ºF. That said, the Sahara desert plays an important role in the climate and air quality of the country. Particulate Matter is the main natural air pollutant and impossible to combat.

To my surprise, I was not able to find a local ground air quality station neither a DIY (like the Luftdaten) or any low-cost public monitor along Egypt, but only some inaccurate satellite estimations of the air quality.

The average wage in Egypt is very low at around US$150, as a result, people cannot afford even a simple DIY AQ monitor which worth US$35.

I had a portable low-cost PM2.5 sensor with me and I was able to check the air quality periodically and compare the measurements with those from the satellite estimations.

portable aqm satellite

The satellite models are influenced by the Sahara desert in a year-round base and the output values are not real especially for the days when there is no wind. I was able to register high PM2.5 concentrations around 80μg/m3 but the source of this pollutant was manmade – the boats on the river Nile or the traffic on Cairo streets. The picture at the top of the page was taken in Dahshur Pyramid, as you can see in the background huge industrial facilities were producing a lot of air pollution.

Most Egyptians struggle to survive and make a living so they don’t care about air pollution even pollution in general. One day I saw a local who was drinking dirty water directly from the river where the boats stop to refill the engines. I understand that their immune system and gut is used to this water but I am also sure the water wasn’t drinkable or safe for anyone there.

According to the Air Quality Life Index aka AQLI there isn’t any National Standard and for this reason, the AQ is 10 to 100 times above the acceptable world standards. The Egyptian environmental affairs agency is providing three days forecast here.

I did a little research on social media to see how often people talk about air pollution in Egypt. Regrettably, not many people talk about it in English or Arabic language.

Raise Awareness Program

I want to find two Egyptian volunteers and give them 2 AQ monitors called Smoggie which are built and offered to me by uRAD Monitor and thanks to Radu Motisan persistence to fight air pollution and determination to build an affordable device for people to see and understand the air. If you know someone from Egypt who has WiFi internet connection 24/7 and wants to receive a monitor please email me or DM on Twitter. Let’s raise awareness and focus our attention to this important problem for a better & safer future.

Egypt cars pollution diesel.jpg
They say that New York is The City that never sleeps, count Cairo in this category.
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