Unhealthy air quality in Port of Spain, EMA urges people to stay indoor

Environmental Management Authority (EMA)’s monitoring stations reported an ‘Unhealthy’ air quality in the areas of Port of Spain as Saharan Dust continues passing through the atmosphere.

EMA: Air Quality at unhealthy levels. (Credits: T&T Guardian, Facebook)
EMA: Air Quality at unhealthy levels. (Credits: T&T Guardian, Facebook)

Trinidad and Tobago: Environmental Management Authority (EMA) monitoring stations reported ‘Unhealthy’ air quality in the areas of Port of Spain as Saharan Dust continues passing through the atmosphere.

The authorities urged the public to take necessary precautions and avoid getting out of their homes. People of sensitive groups such as elders, children, pregnant women and anyone suffering from respiratory illness are at high risk.

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“Everyone, especially sensitive groups, including older adults, children, and individuals with heart or lung disease, respiratory diseases, and allergies, is strongly advised to avoid prolonged heavy exertion.”, EMA remarked.

The areas suffering adverse effects of Saharan dust are Arima, Mayaro, San Fernando and surrounding areas of Port of Spain. Noting this, EMA said that the current Air Quality Level (AQI) stands between 111 and 159.

The increase in Particulate Matter (PM) is attributed to Saharan Dust. The unhealthy air quality can leave people with several health complications. Keeping this in mind, the authorities warned the public to wear masks, whenever going outside and avoid visiting crowded places.

“Increased respiratory symptoms in sensitive groups, including older adults, children, and people with respiratory diseases and allergies; increased risk of heart or lung disease and increased premature mortality in people with heart or lung disease; Increased respiratory effects in the general population”, EMA warns.

The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) introduced some measures to curb the issue of Saharan dust in the communities such as,

  • People are advised to wear face masks and dust masks while going out in crowded places
  • The citizens suffering from respiratory illness should stay at their homes as much as possible
  • In case of difficulty breathing, the person should immediately visit a medical facility for a check-up
  • If one feels a foreign body sensation in the eyes, one should wash them with plenty of water. It is preferable to use potable, boiled or chlorinated water. Wash your hands before starting the procedure
  • Cover water sources like wells, water storage ponds and containers to avoid contamination
  • The people are suggested to keep inhalers, steroid nasal sprays and antihistamines with themselves, especially those suffering from sinuses or asthma

The authorities are trying every possible thing in their power to tackle the issue of unhealthy air levels. The Ministry of Health of the country keeping in mind the advisory shared the precautions that can be taken to enhance better health among the citizens.