Dust levels in May were the worst for that month in the past five years, the latest readings by Care-C research center at the Cyprus Institute showed on Tuesday.

The findings suggest things are set to get worse in Cyprus, as climate change is likely to increase the frequency of dusty days.

Citing research, Cyprus, the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East have been recognised as a global epicenter of climate change. Extreme weather conditions which bring high levels of dust are expected to increase in intensity and frequency in the next few decades, Care-C said.

There are numerous consequences to frequent incidents of increased dust levels, including figures revealing a decrease in visibility from 38km to 18km. Meanwhile the particles which reduce visibility are a threat to health, the research centre added.

In May, the concentration of Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM) with diameter less than 10μm (PM10) measured in Nicosia at the Cyprus Atmospheric Observatory and the labour inspection department reached 260 mg/m3. These values are almost six times the air quality limits set by the World Health Organization, Care-C said.

In addition, dust episodes can also cause respiratory problems. When inhaled, the particles enter the lungs and this can cause respiratory diseases, cardiovascular problems and allergic reactions in the nose and eyes.