live AQI index
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Moderate|| 57 US AQI||PM2.5|
|PM2.5|| 15.1 µg/m³|
PM2.5 concentration in Manama air is currently 3 times above the WHO annual air quality guideline value
|Close your windows to avoid dirty outdoor air|
|Sensitive groups should reduce outdoor exercise|
Moderate 57 US AQI
|Monday, Nov 29|
Moderate 72 US AQI
|Tuesday, Nov 30|
Moderate 66 US AQI
|Wednesday, Dec 1|
Moderate 72 US AQI
|Thursday, Dec 2|
Moderate 82 US AQI
|Friday, Dec 3|
Moderate 68 US AQI
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Manama is the capital and largest city of Bahrain. It is located on a small peninsular in the north east corner of Bahrain. In 2020, a census estimated the population to be around 200,000 people.
Towards the middle of 2021, Manama was experiencing a period of “Unhealthy” air with a US AQI reading of 156. This United States Air Quality Index figure is an internationally used set of metrics that is used to determine the level of air pollution at any given time. It can be used to compare several cities, even when they are in different countries. The number is calculated by measuring up to six of the commonly found pollutants in the air. However, sometimes they are not always available and the figure has to be calculated using what records there are. In this case it is only the concentration level of PM2.5 which was 64 µg/m³.
With levels such as these, the advice is to close doors and windows to prevent the ingress of more dirty air. Those of a sensitive disposition are advised to remain indoors or if travel outside is unavoidable, then a good quality mask is recommended. It is recommended that all unnecessary outdoor exercise is postponed until the air quality improves. It is advisable to use an air purifier if one is available.
Looking back at the figures released by the Swiss company IQAir.com, it can be easily seen that the air quality does not vary much throughout the year. From February through until the end of November, the air quality is “Unhealthy for sensitive groups” with figures between 35.5 and 55.4 µg/m³. The worst month was July with a high of 51.6 µg/m³. The remaining months of December and January saw air quality at the best with figures between 12.1 and 35.4 µg/m³, even though it was still classified as being of “Moderate” quality.
Records have been kept since 2017 when the recorded level was 62.5 µg/m³ followed by an improvement the following year of 59.8 µg/m³. Another lower figure was recorded in 2019 when it was 46.8 µg/m³. In 2020 the average figure was 39.7 µg/m³. All these figures are stated in micrograms or microns per cubic metre. This figure could be artificially lower than usual because of the restrictions brought into force due to the COVID-19 pandemic when the use of private vehicles was mainly prohibited and many manufacturing plants were told to cease production until further notice.
The most recent data reveals the country’s annual average level of PM2.5 to be 71 µg/m³ and, as such, is way over the recommended limit as suggested by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Their maximum “safe” figure is just 10 µg/m³.
Most of the pollutants come from sandstorms, industrial emissions, private vehicle usage and the manufacture of fertiliser.
The concentration of particulate matter (PM) is a key air quality indicator since it is the most common air pollutant that affects both short and long term health. Two sizes of particulate matter are used to analyse air quality; fine particles with a diameter of less than 2.5 microns or PM2.5 and coarse particles with a diameter of less than 10 microns or PM10.
PM2.5 particles are of a greater concern because their small size allows them to travel deeper into the cardiopulmonary system and cross over into the bloodstream.
The Kingdom has taken serious steps to conserve energy through several initiatives such as promoting the trend towards green energy, policies to reduce consumption, and enhancing the utilisation of the country's natural resources. A national committee has been formed with the aim of moving towards renewable energy and environmentally friendly alternative energy and promoting its use by government agencies, companies, institutions and individuals.
Air quality is one of the important elements in protecting the environment. Therefore, the Kingdom of Bahrain has made continuous efforts towards this natural resource through continuous monitoring of air quality through various monitoring stations stationed in different locations throughout the Kingdom. This is in addition to other environmental projects that contribute to reducing air pollution in the country. On the other hand, a number of major industrial companies in Bahrain, such as the Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company (GPIC), have taken the initiative in implementing major environmental projects as part of its social responsibility towards the environment.
The Bahrain Petroleum Company (Bapco) implemented the Refinery Gas Desulphurisation Project RGDP to remove sulphur from the refinery gas. This project is considered one of the important environmental projects that aim to improve the environment in the Kingdom of Bahrain, and the cost of the project is US$155 million. They have also instigated a treatment system at the LPG plant which reduces pollution caused by the process. They also have invested in a base oil lubrication project which reduces exhaust emissions from engines.
The Bahrain National Gas Company (Banagaz) has modified the combustion system in one of the gas turbines, and the result of this amendment has resulted in reducing nitrogen oxides levels by more than 40 per cent, and based on this encouraging result, which is an important achievement in this field, the company is planning during the coming months to make similar adjustments to other gas turbines.
Research has shown that air pollution increases the risk of infectious diseases by altering bacteria, as this can cause a severe impact on the respiratory system as bacteria may enter the body as we breathe.
Black carbon, which is pure carbon, is one of the components of fine particles, it is released when there is incomplete combustion of biofuels, biomass and fossil fuels, and this is the main component of air pollution and it is associated with causing bacterial infection in the body, this black carbon is associated with premature deaths and air pollution is linked directly with infectious diseases.
There are some signs and symptoms that the human body shows at a time of increased air pollution. These are nasal congestion, eyes that are burning, tearful and irritated, shortness of breath, a heavy chest and excessive sneezing.