Qatar is also officially known as the State of Qatar. The capital city is Doha. It is a country located in Western Asia, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the north-eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It shares a land border with Saudi Arabia to the south. The rest of the country borders the Persian Gulf. In 2017 the estimated population for Qatar was 2.6 million, but the majority of this figure consists of expats, (2.3 million).FF
At the beginning of 2021, Qatar was experiencing a period of bad air quality with measurements placing it in the “Unhealthy for sensitive groups” category with a US AQI figure of 111. This classification system is based on recommendations by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The recorded level of PM2.5 pollutant was 39.7 µg/m³. With pollution at this level, sensitive groups are advised to wear a good quality mask when venturing outdoors. Doors and windows should be closed to prevent the ingress of dirty air. It would be advantageous to run an air purifier if one is available. All forms of outdoor exercise should be reduced or postponed until the air quality improves.
It was reported that the Ministry will spare no effort to reduce air pollution and its causes, as it is among the most important priorities of its strategic plans, as well as national strategic development plans with the participation of ministries and relevant authorities in the country to achieve environmental sustainability as one of the pillars of Qatar Vision 2030 under the rational leadership.
In this context, it was explained that the joint work between government and private agencies in the country has contributed to reducing air pollution and its sources in accordance with environmental standards, through best environmentally friendly practices, switching to clean energy and reducing energy consumption, and moving towards a green economy, to reach environmental sustainability and preserve biodiversity in the State of Qatar.
It was said that the participation of the State of Qatar with the countries of the world in the celebration of World Environment Day, which is held on 5th June each year, aims to emphasise the importance of the environment for all on the basis of joint work to preserve the planet and reduce air pollution in its various types and sources, indicating that adopting “To combat air pollution” as a slogan for the 2019 celebration, Clear indications of the need to alert everyone that the air we breathe has become a challenge to live a healthy life, due to the high levels of pollution in it, and its cause of climate change as a result of wrong behaviour and practices of individuals, groups and countries.
Qatar is one of the largest producers of natural gas and has contributed to the development of new technologies for exploration, production and manufacture of gas because this is the main resource for the construction boom taking place in Qatar despite the negative environmental consequences of this industry which lies in air pollution. It is the most obvious aspect of it. In addition, there are many indications of high levels of air pollutants and deteriorating air quality despite the efforts made by the producing companies and the concerned authorities in regard to this. A spokesperson for the Environmental Studies Centre at Qatar University previously indicated in an interview to the press that pollution in general and air pollution, in particular, does not know any limits and that the cooperation of ministries and government and private institutions is needed to preserve a clean environment from pollution in the future. It was emphasised that air pollution has become a global phenomenon, especially in the densely populated big cities, due to several reasons, most notably to traffic congestion and smoke emitted from factories, warning of the side effects of this phenomenon, which causes a number of diseases.
Scientists revealed that Qatar has witnessed a significant improvement in air quality over the past few weeks, referring this change to the social distancing policies that the country applies in its response to the COVID 19 pandemic. It was confirmed in a statement that the percentage of concentrations of microscopic particles in the air, which reach a diameter of 2.5 microns, in all parts of the city of Doha, decreased to 30, according to a report.
A decrease of 9 per cent and 18 per cent, in the concentrations of ozone (O3) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), respectively, and this is very important, as the microscopic particles suspended in the air and ozone are pollutants that have the most notable adverse effects on human health and are among the most difficult pollutants to eradicate.
National authorities study the effectiveness of social distancing policies by monitoring air pollutants associated with traffic, construction, industrial activities, shipping and aviation.
Environmental safety is an integral part of healthcare. Providing a safe, liveable environment is critical to maintaining the health of the population. Air quality, drinking water and waste treatment are key areas of environmental safety that require attention in Qatar. Data from the World Health Organisation (WHO) shows that air pollution is the largest environmental risk ever to health.
One of the conditions for the prosperity of a society is that it enjoys living in a healthy environment, free of pollutants and toxins. Also, ensuring the cleanliness of drinking water is very important to enjoy optimal health. On the other hand, the frequent consumption of contaminated water leads to disease conditions, such as diarrhoea, bacterial dysentery, cholera, typhoid, and others. Air pollution also causes some diseases. In this context, the WHO states that countries capable of reducing air pollution levels can reduce the burden of diseases such as stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and respiratory diseases.
The value of the air quality index may increase due to increased emissions of air pollutants (for example, during rush hour traffic or a downwind fire) or due to a decrease in the concentration of air pollutants. Air stagnation, which is often caused by a hurricane, thermal inversion, or low wind speeds, allows pollutants to remain in a local area, which leads to high pollutant concentrations, chemical reactions between air pollutants, and the formation of cloudiness.
Advice to groups of society sensitive to pollution, such as the elderly and children, who have respiratory or cardiovascular problems, to avoid exerting efforts outdoors. Recommendation of the use of masks to prevent the suspended particles from entering the lungs.
Agencies can resort to contingency plans that allow them to request the reduction of pollutants emitted by major sources (such as coal-burning industries), during a period of low air quality, such as an air pollution episode in which the air pollution index indicates that acute exposure to these pollutants may cause harm. Significant public health, until the dangerous state of pollution stabilizes.
The Doha Metro is a sophisticated and modern automated railway network, whose tunnels run under the city of Doha. There is no doubt that the Doha Metro will be the main pillar of the integrated public transport system in Qatar, which will encourage the use of public transport. The Doha Metro is part of the master plan for transportation, which is one of the pillars of support for the realisation of the Qatar National Vision 2030. It will serve most of the capital's locations quickly and easily, making it a better option than other means of transportation such as private cars.
Air pollution in Qatar raises great concern, after crossing safe borders amid warnings of harm to the health of residents and expatriates, according to a report published by a local newspaper, which threatens the safety of hosting the 2022 World Cup, in addition to doubts surrounding Qatar's right to organise this tournament and there are also concerns about the infrastructure that will need building in order to host such a prestigious world event. The construction of stadia, subways, hotels, roads and others tend to raise the level of air pollution, which will signal danger to visitors.
Before the World Cup, Qatar also increased its air pollution by spending billions of dollars to fight stifling heat and cool its streets, and outdoor air-conditioners were equipped with high costs, not realising that this would increase global warming and contribute to the development of carbon emissions.
No one is safe from this pollution that comes from five main human sources. These sources emit a range of substances including carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, nitrogen oxide, ground-level ozone, particulate matter PM2.5 and PM10, sulphur dioxide, hydrocarbons and lead - all of which are harmful to human health.
The main source of household air pollution is the internal combustion of fossil fuels, wood and other biomass-based fuels for cooking, heating and home lighting. There are about 3.8 million premature deaths due to indoor air pollution each year, the vast majority of them in the developing world.
Out of 193 countries, 97 countries increased the percentage of homes with access to cleaner combustion fuels to more than 85 per cent. However, 3 billion people continue to use solid fuels and open burning for cooking, heating and lighting. The use of cleaner and newer stoves and fuels can reduce the risk of disease and save lives, but can be expensive to purchase and operate on a daily basis.
In many countries, energy production is a major source of air pollution. Coal-fired power stations are a major contributor to air pollution, while diesel generators are a growing concern in off-grid areas. Industrial processes and the use of solvents in the chemical and mining industries also cause air pollution.
Policies and programs to increase energy efficiency and production from renewable sources directly affect the country's air quality. Currently, 82 of the 193 countries have incentives that encourage investment in renewable energy production, cleaner production and energy efficiency and/or pollution control.
The global transportation sector is responsible for nearly a quarter of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions, and this number is increasing. These transport emissions have been linked to 400,000 premature deaths. Nearly half of all deaths from air pollution caused by transportation are due to diesel emissions, while those who live near major traffic routes are up to 12 per cent more likely to be diagnosed with dementia. Reducing vehicle emissions is an important intervention to improve air quality, especially in urban areas. Policies and standards that require the use of cleaner fuels and advanced vehicle emissions standards can reduce vehicle emissions by 90 per cent or more.
There are two main sources of air pollution from agriculture: livestock that produce methane and ammonia and the burning of agricultural waste. Methane emissions contribute to ground-level ozone, which causes asthma and other respiratory diseases. Methane is also a greenhouse gas that has more impact than carbon dioxide. Its impact is 34 times greater over a 100-year period. About 24 per cent of all greenhouse gases emitted worldwide come from agriculture, forestry, and other land uses.
There are many ways to reduce air pollution from agriculture. People can switch to a vegetarian diet and/or reduce food waste, while farmers can reduce methane from livestock by improving the digestibility of feed and improving grazing and pasture management.
The open burning of waste in landfills releases harmful dioxins, furans, methane and black carbon into the atmosphere. Globally, an estimated 40 per cent of waste is burned in the open. The problem is most acute in urban areas and developing countries. The open burning of agricultural and/or municipal waste is practised in 166 of the 193 countries.
Improving solid waste collection, separation and disposal reduces the amount of waste that is burned or buried. Separating organic waste and converting it into compost or bioenergy improves soil fertility and provides an alternative energy source. Reducing the estimated one-third of lost or wasted food can improve air quality.
Not all air pollution comes from human activity. Volcanic eruptions, dust storms, and other natural processes also cause problems for the environment. The sand and dust storms are worrying, in particular. Against the background of these storms, fine dust particles can travel thousands of miles, which may also carry pathogens and harmful substances, causing acute and chronic respiratory problems.
And while the data on these many sources of air pollution may seem overwhelming, we can do something about it.