Air Quality Alert issued for Antigua and Barbuda due to Saharan Dust

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Sahara Dust
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Residents and visitors in Antigua and Barbuda are being urged to take precautions as air quality levels have reached “unhealthy” levels for sensitive groups.

The Antigua and Barbuda Meteorological Service has issued an Air Quality Alert, effective until tomorrow afternoon, due to high concentrations of particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10) associated with a surge of Saharan dust across the islands.

With an Air Quality Index between 101-150, the current conditions pose an increased likelihood of respiratory symptoms among sensitive groups such as people with asthma, heart or lung disease, the elderly, children, and those with allergies.

The airborne particulates can also aggravate cardiovascular issues and eye and skin irritations.

The air quality alert is due to a surge of dust originating from the Saharan Desert that has spread across the Caribbean region.

While Saharan dust isn’t an uncommon occurrence in Antigua and Barbuda, the Meteorological Service reports that the concentrations of particulate matter have spiked to unhealthy levels, warranting caution especially for vulnerable populations.

The Meteorological Service explain that these high concentrations of airborne particles pose increased risks, making it necessary to issue advisories and recommend precautionary measures.

Health officials recommend that sensitive individuals limit their time outdoors and avoid strenuous outdoor activities until the air quality improves.

The general public should also take precautions such as:

  • Keeping windows and doors closed as much as possible
  • Wearing PM2.5 filtering face masks when going outside
  • Monitoring symptoms and seeking medical care if issues arise

The good news is that forecasting models indicate the dust levels should decrease by tomorrow afternoon, allowing air quality to return to moderate levels across Antigua and Barbuda.

The Meteorological Service will continue providing updates on air quality and dust concentrations via their website antiguamet.com and social media channels.

With some preventative measures, the risk from this temporary dust incursion can be managed until cleaner air prevails.

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