Sharjah air pollution as bad as Beijing

man at sea in sharjah

In Beijing the air pollution is so bad that you sometimes can’t see your hand in front of your face. Above the charts bad, cities of the world are now coming to terms with their own local air pollution.

Sharjah, a coastal city in the United Arab Emirates has air pollution reaching dangerous peaks like Mexico City, Beijing and Tokyo, researchers now find.

Among the pollution in the air is ethane, propane, benzene, butane and toluene. Benzene, a known carcinogen was found to range from 0.34 parts per billion to 3.2 ppb. Compare this to the averages in other polluted cities: for Mexico city it is 0.6ppb, for Beijing it is 2ppb and for Tokyo it is 4ppb.

Read here how air pollution put a Green Prophet writer in the hospital in Cairo.

The survey of Sharjah air pollution was done at the American University of Sharjah. Like we always say, it is usually the west that brings attention to the environmental woes our planet faces –– especially in the Middle East where awareness and concern is low.

The study looked at what compounds form smog. It is usually caused by combustion engines (read cars) when the exhaust reacts with other compounds in the atmosphere.

At first smog can agitate asthma and bronchitis. After longer exposure expect increased rates of cancer, decreased reproductivity and birth defects.

Sharjah readings are complicated because on some days Sharjah air is quite clean. But on others the level of pollution skyrockets to levels seen in the worst cities.

One of the scientists thinks that a majority of the pollution may be produced abroad and then is carried by wind to the city. The pollution may be coming from the petrochemical industries in Iran, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

But Sharjah has other local problems to contend with, like indoor mould and fungus (read here).

Readings of air pollution, meanwhile, will carry on into the summer.

Man at the sea at Sharjah, from Shuttertsock

About Karin Kloosterman

Karin’s interests intersect in the worlds of the environment, technology, activism and Middle East politics. Blogging for some of the most influential media outlets in the "green" world, such as TreeHugger, and The Huffington Post, Karin founded Green Prophet to share the enormous potential of new clean technologies, and environmental awareness emanating from the Middle East region.For tips, advertising and editorial inquiries Karin can be reached at [email protected]

One thought on “Sharjah air pollution as bad as Beijing

  1. JTR

    So it looks like the people are so trapped in debt they just go on choking and fainting under the thickening smog until so many of them die it reduces the number of consumers below the profit margins of various corporations — THEN they’ll do something about it when it costs them too much money!!!


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