DOHA: On the occasion of National Environment Day, the Qatar Statistics Authority (QSA) and Qatar Information Exchange have issued a brochure to update citizens on the country’s environmental status.
According to the brochure, all readings of Doha’s air monitoring stations are below permitted levels, except the rate of particulate matter.
The leaflet highlights a decrease in the annual average of all pollutants in the city for 2011 compared to previous years.
However, in 2011, the particulate matter concentration was of 100 micrograms per cubic metre in Aspire Zone, 180 in Qatar University and 120 in Al Corniche, while the annual limit was about 50.
The most relevant air pollutants regulated and monitored in Qatar include particulate matter, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and ground level ozone.
Compared with other air pollutants, particulate matter is the most harmful to human health.
Studies have shown that there is a close link between mortality rates resulting from respiratory system diseases such as asthma, bronchitis and emphysema and the rate of suspended dust in the air, the brochure said.
Concentration of particles in the air exposes people to rickets arising from shortage of ultra-violet rays and causes deformations in the chest as a result of a lack of balance in the rate of calcium, phosphorous and vitamin D.
In addition, the high concentration of fine dust in the air causes eye diseases such as trachoma and some chest diseases and allergies such as asthma as well as vascular diseases.
Side effects of excess sulphur dioxide include inflammation of pulmonic capillaries and cardiac and lung diseases, among other consequences.
Whilst nitrogen oxide leads to the irritation of capillaries in children and contraction of the lung function and constitutes some dangers when asthma patients are exposed to it.
Carbon monoxide causes dizziness and heart disorders and ozone brings respiratory problems, reduction of lungs’ function and pulmonary diseases as well as irritation of the eyes, pulmonary capillaries and the throat.
Other aspects that define the environmental situation of Qatar have to do with natural reserves. The total area of natural reserves is about 30 percent of the country’s area. There are 11 natural protected areas, including two which are combined marine and land protected.
The ratio of housing buildings with access to electricity, water and sewage services is relatively high, which reflects the welfare level in the country, with 97 percent of houses provided with safe water from the public water network.
Parallel to the distribution of this brochure, the Ministry of Environment organised a number of events and activities on the occasion of National Environment Day on February 26.
The day was celebrated under the slogan ‘Our environment is our responsibility’.
Activities included a cleaning campaign on the Simaisma beach and planting of trees by students from Shafalah Centre.
Some workshops addressed the issue in schools to raise awareness among students.
In addition, imams were due to speak about the environment during the Friday prayers.