New dust warning as levels exceed safe limits

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Vulnerable members of the population including children, the elderly and the convalescing were on Wednesday advised to stay indoors as much as possible due to high levels of dust in the atmosphere.

The warning came amid hot weather that saw temperatures rising to above 30°C inland on Wednesday.

According to an official announcement, measurements at noon on Wednesday placed the level of PM10 Particulate Matter at between 50 micrograms (one-millionth of a gram) per cubic meter of air (µg/m3) and 72 µg/m3. Later measures put the maximum level at 73µg/m3.  PM10 particulate matter has diameters that are generally 10 micrometres and smaller and so are inhalable.

This indicates that the 24-hour average will surpass the permitted 50 µg/m3 maximum average defined by law.

On Tuesday, measurements were between 31 and 50 µg/m3 depending on the area.

“Because of the small size of the inhalable particulate matter and their potentially negative effect on human health, the general public and vulnerable groups in particular—children, the elderly and convalescing—are advised to avoid spending time outdoors until the phenomenon passes,” the Labour Ministry’s announcement said.

In a separate announcement, the Health Ministry called on people with respiratory, heart, kidney, and immune system deficiencies to take particular care, along with children, and those aged over 65.

The announcement said people with chronic respiratory problems should seek medical advice to find out if they should increase the dose of their medications and that anyone experiencing breaking problems should immediately see their doctor or go to the Casualty Department.

The ministry also advised people with severe difficulties to wear a surgical mask over their mouth when spending time outdoors but even members of the generally public were warned not to exercise outdoors until the dust subsides.

 

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