Due to its geographical location Cyprus is vulnerable to dust storms as it is affected by the largest deserts of the planet, the Sahara, the Arabian peninsula and Syria, the medical services said at a conference on dust and its impact on human health on Tuesday.
“As a result, Cyprus is often affected by the phenomenon of dust storms, during which concentrations of aerodynamic particles of a diameter less than 10 micrometres (PM10) increase significantly, often exceeding the daily limit of 50µg/m3 set by the European Union and World Health Organisation,” the medical services said after the conference.
“Dust storms are a natural and unpredictable phenomenon that can hardly be controlled,” it added.
The temporal and geographical variations of the storms, meteorological forecasting models, and the perception and practices of local organisations in Eastern Mediterranean countries were analysed at the event.
According to a statement, the seminar focused specifically on dust storms and their impact on the region and aimed to inform and educate health professionals.
During the meeting, the professionals were briefed on the actions of the labour inspection department under the European Medea project, and how it adapts to the phenomenon of desert dust storms.
Medea is an EU funded coordination and support action project the scope of which is to establish and further develop a regional network of practitioners and other security related actors in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea region.
One of its four thematic communities is to manage natural hazards and technological accidents.
The project aims to develop the tools for early population warning of upcoming desert dust storm events and a set of evidence-based and sustainable recommendations for adoption during episodes to reduce indoor and outdoor exposure to harmful particulate air pollution.