Dust originating from the Saharan desert continues to plague Cyprus and the eastern Mediterranean basin for a third consecutive day, the Cyprus institute has said warning people to remain indoors.
The public, particularly vulnerable groups such as children, older people, and those suffering from respiratory conditions, are urged to avoid circulating in open spaces until the dust subsides, as the small size of respirable particles in dust may have negative effects on human health.
Meanwhile, the Department of Labour Inspection also issued a press release saying that high concentrations of dust continue to make outdoor working conditions unsafe and advised workers to take necessary precautions.
According to the Cyprus Institute, this particular dust phenomenon is common during springtime when the temperature gradient between the hot Sahara region and the relatively cold Mediterranean Sea is large enough to allow southern air masses to move northerly. And although dust episodes are hazardous to our health, they are beneficial for nature. Dust contains minerals that are necessary for the ocean, acting as a natural fertilizer. It is part of a natural process without which ocean life would be poorer.
Sun photometric data recorded at the Nicosia station of the Cyprus Atmospheric Observatory (CAO) show that visibility has been reduced to 16 km instead of the 38 km we typically experience. It is important to note that the dust layer extends up to 4km high and will continue for the rest of the week.