Saharan dust covers the atmosphere in Caribbean countries

Press reports stated that Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Barbados and Saint Lucia are the countries with the highest levels of unsanitary conditions, because the concentration of floating particles is so great that it reduces street visibility to just a few metres.

The situation prompted environmental agencies in those areas to issue alerts of a health risk to residents, especially people suffering from respiratory problems.

For example, Trinidad and Tobago has decided on the red and orange phases – which are the most important – in various locations on its territory, where the index that measures deteriorating air quality ranges between 139 and 153.

Also, a ban is in effect on small aircraft flights, due to poor visibility overhead.

Every year, plumes of dust rise from the African continent and advance westward, under the current of trade winds, and spread across the Atlantic Ocean, reaching the Caribbean Sea, the southeastern United States, Mexico, and Central America.

According to experts, they are generated by sand and dust storms in the Sahara and the Sahel region, which reach a height of three to seven kilometers, and are usually loaded with substances harmful to human health.

This phenomenon triggers allergies, thus putting asthmatics and other individuals suffering from certain diseases and COPD at great risk.

Additionally, it can cause skin and eye irritation, as well as the risk of waterborne diseases.

However, desert dust brings many mineral particles such as iron, calcium, phosphorus, silica and clay, as well as bacteria, fungi, mites and pollen, which benefit nature.

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