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To Combat ‘Black Cloud’ Pollution, Egypt Comes Up With A New Plan

The World Health Organization is holding its first global air pollution conference in Geneva this week.

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Egypt, pollution, seeds
Air pollution can hamper work productivity. VOA

An Egyptian government program to pay traders to buy rice straw from farmers at the end of harvest has helped to combat one of Cairo’s ugliest features — a huge black cloud that hangs over the Egypt capital during the burning season.

Cairo is the world’s second most polluted megacity, the World Health Organization says, and the government is pursuing several initiatives to cut back greenhouse gas emissions.

One of the biggest contributors to the thick layer of smog has been the annual burning of rice straw by farmers who have no other means to dispose of it.

Pollution, Delhi, egypt
As pollution levels spike, Delhi and its satellite towns are enveloped in a haze of smog. VOA

To tackle the problem, the government offered an incentive to traders to buy the straw from farmers amounting to 50 Egyptian pounds ($3) per ton, said Mohamed Salah, head of the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency (EEAA). They can then sell it as animal feed or for other uses.

The program appears to be bearing results.

“Today, the dark cloud season is over and all citizens in Egypt are saying that they have not sensed any significant problem relating to this, unlike what had happened in previous years,” Salah said.

egypt
To tackle the problem, the government offered an incentive to traders to buy the straw from farmers amounting to 50 Egyptian pounds.

An industrial boom in Egypt has also contributed to pollution, Salah said.’

“We have some small industries that are deregulated and are not in line with environmental standards. We have worked hard on these,” he said.

Also Read: Dushhera In Delhi Casts A Dark Blanket, Air Quality Worsens

The World Health Organization is holding its first global air pollution conference in Geneva this week. (VOA)

Next Story

Researchers Find New Method to Track Pollution from Cooking

There is growing evidence that exposure to cooking oil fumes is linked to lung cancer, the study said

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cooking, pollution
FILE - A woman adjusts the charcoal in a stove next to cooking pots at a village about 30 km (19 miles) south of South Sudan's capital Juba, June 21, 2013. VOA

Researchers have found that black carbon is a good tracer to separate cooking organic aerosol from traffic-related pollution, paving the way for a new method to track pollution from cooking.

Cooking organic aerosol is one of the most important primary sources of pollution in urban environments.

By applying the black carbon tracer method to several data sets in mega cities of Beijing and Nanjing, the researchers found that cooking organic aerosol contributed 15-27 per cent to total organic aerosol in summer.

The findings published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters suggest that air quality improvements in developing countries could benefit substantially from the reduction of cooking emissions.

Air pollution
Death toll due to air pollution rises in India. Pexel

There is growing evidence that exposure to cooking oil fumes is linked to lung cancer, the study said.

A new method to separate cooking organic aerosol from traffic-related pollution is needed as it is often challenging to separate cooking organic aerosol from traffic-related organic aerosol due to the similarity of their unit mass resolution spectra.

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“Considering that aerosol chemical speciation monitor (ACSM) has been increasingly deployed worldwide for routine measurements of aerosol particle composition, our study might have significant implications for better source apportionment of OA ( organic aerosol) and exposure studies in the future,” said Yele Sun, Professor from Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Science. (IANS)