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Air Pollution Shortens the Life of Egyptians by Almost Two Years

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Air Pollution Shortens the Life of Egyptians by Almost Two Years

Smog over Cairo as seen from a plane.

According to a study, in the journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters, air pollution is responsible for shortening the lives of Egyptians by 1.85 years.

For years Cairo has been considered as a home for miscelleanous pollutions such as air, water and even noise. It is Cairo’s air pollution, however, that is at the most critical level, with an estimated 43,000 Egyptians dying from diseases related to air pollution in 2012.

The latest findings of the study take into consideration the levels of outdoor ‘ambient’ air pollution from previous data-collecting studies.

The impact was assessed based on the lifespan of an individual born today.

Cairo’s notorious traffic, the abundance of old cars without pollution measures, and the high-rise buildings and narrow streets that trap poisonous air close to the ground have all contributed to the city consistently ranking as one of the world’s most polluted cities. However, the city’s topography and climate make the situation worse.

Lying in a valley that is surrounded by hills, polluted air collects in the city, while autumn temperature inversions trap the stagnant air, with little opportunity for cleansing from rainstorms due to the dry climate. Cairo also contends with the Saharan dust, and the infamous black cloud that descends every year as farmers burn leftover rice husks at the end of the season.
Lying in a valley that is surrounded by hills, polluted air collects in the city, while autumn temperature inversions trap the stagnant air, with little opportunity for cleansing from rainstorms due to the dry climate. Cairo also contends with the Saharan dust, and the infamous black cloud that descends every year as farmers burn leftover rice husks at the end of the season.

An engineering professor at the University of Texas at Austin, Joshua Apte, told the New York Times that “the near- and long-term health benefits of cleaner and more efficient energy use are one of the best co-benefits of tackling climate change, as we will lead healthier and longer lives.”

Pollution can be further accerbated by indoor cooking with wood or charcoal according to Dr. Apte. The fuels that people use inside their homes while cooking give strong indications of indoor air pollution.

Although the average global lifespan has increased significantly in the last decades, this health improvement can be limited by the harms of air pollution.

Here are our top tips on how to tackle air pollution in Egypt.

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Cairo-based and with nine years of experience in journalism, Sara is deputy editor-in-chief and managing editor of Egyptian Streets. She holds two Bachelors (Egyptology and Journalism) from the American University in Cairo (2011). Her interests include history, comparative archaeology, gender, religion, minority rights, science fiction, and the environment.

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