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|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Good|| 17* US AQI||PM2.5|
PM2.5 concentration in Casablanca air currently meets the WHO annual air quality guideline value
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Good 17 AQI US
|Saturday, Dec 2|
Good 18 AQI US
|Sunday, Dec 3|
Good 26 AQI US
|Monday, Dec 4|
Good 37 AQI US
|Tuesday, Dec 5|
Good 39 AQI US
|Wednesday, Dec 6|
Moderate 55 AQI US
|Thursday, Dec 7|
Moderate 59 AQI US
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Casablanca is a city located in the central western portion of Morocco, being the largest city located in the country as well as being counted as a major port city, facing onto the Atlantic Ocean and holding the title of being one of the most prominent financial hubs of Africa. It is also a city with a sizeable population, being home to over 3.71 million inhabitants and far more in the extended region of greater Casablanca.
As a city with a high population as well as being the economic and financial heart of the country, there would be subsequent depreciations in air quality, due to many different factors, usually involving the mass movement of people, continued urban growth, rising population as well as largescale industrial movements. Whilst there is a limited amount of concise data on record regarding the city’s pollution readings, it is well known both on a local and international scale that there are many pollutive issues occurring within the city’s limits, however there are also times when the air quality is significantly better, with geographical and meteorological factors playing a part in this, being both an aid as well as a compounding factor in pollution levels.
In early 2021, Casablanca was seen to have PM2.5 levels as low as 5.1 μg/m³ showing up, going up to 9.1 μg/m³. These figures placed Casablanca on that particular time within the World Health Organizations (WHO's) target goal for the best level of air quality at 10 μg/m³ or less. Due to limited recorded data available, it can be said that there are days such as this that show up where the pollution levels are low and within appreciable limits, and on the flip side, times when the pollution levels would soar due to anthropogenic activity coupled with the large scale accumulation of polluting chemicals and hazardous fine particulate matter.
Main causes of pollution in Casablanca would be largely related to the actions of people within the city, with tens of thousands of vehicles inhabiting the roads at any given time, taking people on their daily commutes as well as in and out of the city, with heavy duty vehicles such as trucks and lorries carrying their industrial load, not to mention the many ships that would be docking and departing from the port city.
Other prominent causes of pollution would be ones such as the burning of garbage and refuse, which contains both organic matter as well as synthetic materials. Due to the arid conditions of the land, large dust and sandstorms can also occur which would cause massive amounts of choking particulate matter to permeate the atmosphere over the city. These soil and sand particles can often be covered in hazardous chemicals or materials as a result of waste burning or dumping, as well as other activities that leave behind polluting residue.
With a combination of ancient vehicles releasing large amounts of smoke and haze, as well as oil vapors and other dangerous materials that arise from older, poorly maintained vehicles that run on diesel or other lower quality fuels, there would be a number of health risks associated with these alone, not to mention the various other hazardous sources of pollution.
Health risks would include short term or acute conditions such as irritation to the skin and mucous membranes, with the eyes, nose, mouth and ears all subject to aggravation and even rash outbreaks or infections in those who have a particular sensitivity towards chemicals. More severe ailments include a heightened risk of cancer, particularly towards the lungs or throat, but also possible in many of the organs throughout the body. PM2.5 and its insidiously small size allows it to penetrate deep into the lung tissue and enter the blood stream via the alveoli, whereby it can cause widespread damage to the blood vessels, kidneys, liver and the heart.
Main pollutants in the air over the city would be ones such as high quantities of both nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2). Both find their release mainly from vehicle engines, with nitrogen dioxide being the chief offender when it comes to vehicle emissions, with areas that see a high volume of traffic consistently having high amounts of nitrogen dioxide in the nearby atmosphere. Ships can also release large amounts of sulfur into the air as well, due to different regulations regarding the fuels that ships can utilize, which often contains much higher quantities of sulfur than is seen in regular fuel. Both can contribute to instances of acid rain, as well as being damaging to the lung tissues of those who are exposed.
Other pollutants would include ones such as black carbon, volatile organic compounds (VOC's), as well as polychlorinated biphenyls, dioxins, furans and even toxic metals such as lead, mercury or cadmium. All of these can find release from the burning of synthetic materials, construction sites and factory grounds.
There are numerous actions that the city could take in order to clean up its air. One of many positive steps that could be put into play as the economy and standard of living improves in the city, would be to not only gradually phase out unclean fuels or diesel, but to also start removing ancient vehicles off of the road. Among these would be both personal ones as well as the heavy duty vehicles, which churn out far larger quantities of black soot and other harmful materials, a common sight in this region of the world as well as many countries that have less stringent road rules regarding the quality of motors in use.
Others would be initiatives such as holding individual businesses, factories and power plants responsible for their emission levels. Whilst Morocco may still be unable to implement such actions, the cleaning up of their road based pollution as well as industrial runoff and effluence would go a long way in improving the quality of air in Casablanca.