live AQI index
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Moderate|| 86 US AQI||PM2.5|
PM2.5 concentration in Dhahran is currently 5.8 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value
|Close your windows to avoid dirty outdoor air|
|Sensitive groups should reduce outdoor exercise|
|Thursday, Nov 24|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 130 US AQI
|Friday, Nov 25|
Moderate 96 US AQI
|Saturday, Nov 26|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 103 US AQI
Moderate 86 US AQI
|Monday, Nov 28|
Moderate 58 US AQI
|Tuesday, Nov 29|
Moderate 60 US AQI
|Wednesday, Nov 30|
Moderate 88 US AQI
|Thursday, Dec 1|
Moderate 97 US AQI
|Friday, Dec 2|
Moderate 72 US AQI
|Saturday, Dec 3|
Moderate 79 US AQI
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Dhahran is a city located in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. A census conducted in 2012 estimated the population of the metropolitan area to be approximately 4.1 million people. This area also includes the neighbouring cities of Dammam and Khobar. Together they form a main administrative centre for the oil industry.
Towards the middle of 2021, Dhahran was experiencing a period of air quality that was classed as being “Unhealthy for sensitive groups” with a US AQI reading of 137. This figure follows the guidelines laid down by the World Health Organisation (WHO). They use a standardised set of metrics so any city can be compared with any other, anywhere in the world. To calculate this figure, up to six of the most commonly found air pollutants are measured, but if all six figures are not available, then it can be calculated using what data is there. With Dhahran, only the PM2.5 figure was available which was 43.2 µg/m³. This is quoted in micrograms/microns per cubic metre.
With elevated levels such as these, it is highly recommended to stay indoors and close all doors and windows to prevent more polluted air from entering the room. Those with a sensitive disposition should refrain from venturing outside until the air quality improves. A good quality mask should be worn when going out although prolonged periods of outdoor activity are not recommended until it gets noticeably better. The table at the top of this page will assist you with this decision. It would be very beneficial to use an air purifier if one is available.
Air pollution is governed by many variable factors such as temperature, wind speed and direction and the level and strength of sunlight, so it can and does change very quickly, depending on prevailing conditions.
The records for 2020 have been published by the Swiss air monitoring company, IQAir.com and it can readily be seen that the best quality air was enjoyed from November all the way through till the following June when the quality was classified as being “Moderate” with figures between 12.1 and 35.4 µg/m³. The exception to this straight run was during May when the figures were slightly worse at 41.8 µg/m³. This was the case for the remaining months from July until the end of October when the readings were between 35.5 and 55.4 µg/m³ which put it in the “Unhealthy for sensitive groups” bracket.
Unfortunately, no figures are available before 2020 when the average annual figure was recorded as being 36.6 µg/m³. This could be artificially lower due to the restrictions put into place because of the COVID-19 pandemic. At this time, many vehicles were prohibited from being used because factories and offices had been instructed to stop production. The closure of the factories also meant they were no longer polluting the air, albeit on a temporary basis. Time will show whether or not this figure will increase once the situation gets back to normal again.
It has been indicated that air pollution is the greatest environmental threat to the health of society, as it is a silent and invisible killer, as the World Health Organisation estimates that about 9 out of 10 people breathe polluted air to a greater extent.
It has been proved that metal works, brick and chemical factories, especially those that use coal or oil as a source of energy, in addition to vehicle exhaust fumes, agricultural burning and desertification are among the major causes of air pollution.
It is feared that when women start driving cars which they now can legally do, in the Kingdom would cause an increase in pollution from car exhaust in Saudi cities.
The issue of air pollution falls within the most urgent issues of the necessity to implement measures and projects that contribute to reducing it, especially in the eastern region, which hosts the oil and petrochemical industry carried by the northern winds from Ras Tanura and Jubail Industrial City to the rest of the cities and towns of Qatif, Dammam, Khobar and Dhahran. It is hoped that the relevant government agencies in cooperation with major oil companies such as Aramco and SABIC, will seek to develop serious and huge national initiatives similar to what happened in China.
In the northern city of Xi’an in China, an air purifying tower is under construction which is hoped to purify the air within a 10 kilometre radius. The tower collects the polluted air at the bottom and is then burned with solar energy, after which the air rises through layers of filters that purify the air before it is released into the atmosphere.
Laws need to be established which compel factory operators to install filters on their exhaust systems. They also need to be relocated well away from residential areas.
The reduction of lead in fuel and making sure that the fuel is burnt completely and not emitting unprocessed chemicals.
Air pollution causes the death of 7 million people annually, including half a million cases in the Middle East, while the organisation attributes that most deaths related to heart disease, strokes, lung cancer and respiratory diseases, including asthma, are mainly caused by air pollution, but that air pollution also affects the growth stages of the human brain.
Carbon monoxide gas: It is the gas that results from the incomplete combustion of fuel, and it has no smell or colour, and its source is car exhaust and wood heaters, and it is one of the most dangerous types of toxic gases.
Carbon dioxide gas: It is the gas that results from the combustion of organic materials such as paper, firewood, and charcoal, and is constantly increasing due to the excessive use of fuel and logging, and it is considered very harmful to humans and the environment.
Nitrogen dioxide gas is produced by the combustion of organic compounds and vehicle exhausts, and its arrival to the ozone layer causes damage to it. Lead: It is present in vehicle fuel, and it comes out of their exhaust and pollutes the air, especially in crowded cities full of cars and other vehicles on a daily basis.