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    WHO: Doha ranked among the world’s most polluted cities

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    dust

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) has released data suggesting that Doha’s air is some of the most polluted in the world.

    The new “Ambient (outdoor) air pollution in cities database 2014” examined air pollution levels in 1,600 cities in 91 countries.

    It concluded that Doha had the 12th highest average levels (93 ug/m3) of PM2.5 – small and fine particles, which are particularly dangerous to health. Al Wakrah (85 ug/m3) ranked 25th on the same list.

    According to WHO, Delhi has the highest level of all, at 153 ug/m3, with another Indian city, Patna, ranking second with 149 ug/m3. Ten more of the top 15 cities are also in India, which has disputed the results.

    By comparison, the annual average for London is 8 ug/m3.

    PM2.5 particles can penetrate the respiratory tract, and increase risk of respiratory infections lung cancer, heart disease and stroke.

    According to the US Environment Protection Agency, these particles – which you often cannot see with the naked eye – are made up of heavy metals and toxic organic compounds, and their sources are usually car exhausts, smelting plants and the burning of organic materials.

    Qatar has seen pollution increase over the past several years, with one government report citing the sand and dust created by the manufacturing industry and the soaring number of construction projects, as well as increasing road congestion, as the main issues.

    Doha is the only city from the Gulf to rank inside the top 20 for PM2.5 particles, although it should be noted that not all cities – including prominent neighbor Dubai – have released their data to WHO, thus excluding themselves from the list.

    Only one city in Saudi Arabia – Jeddah – is listed on the database, with a PM2.5 average of 28. However, the kingdom has previously been ranked as one of the biggest polluters based on its carbon dioxide, ozone-depleting emissions.

    And despite visible dense smog at certain times of year, no Chinese cities ranked inside the top 20 for PM2.5 particles. Beijing, for example, reported an annual average of 56.

    Larger particles

    WHO’s report also details PM10 pollution – bigger particles, which apparently cause fewer health problems. Sources include smoke, dirt and dust.

    Doha ranked just outside the top 30 on the PM10 scale. Average annual PM10 pollution across Doha and Al Wakrah was 165 ug/m3 – just slightly more than the UAE’s overall average levels of 160.

    Breaking the figures down further, Abu Dhabi (170 ug/m3), the UAE’s capital, had a higher annual level of PM10 than Doha (168 ug/m3.)

    Some areas of Bahrain also have extremely high levels of PM10 pollution, with Hamad Town topping the list at 318 ug/m3 – making it the sixth most polluted city for PM10 in the world. However, Bahrain registered significantly lower levels of PM2.5, putting it lower overall on the list of polluting countries.

    The data used by WHO for Qatar was sourced from the Supreme Council of Health and International Health Relations, and relates to 2012.

    In its summary, WHO suggests ways to improve pollution levels, including more energy efficient housing, more public transportation, road designs that incorporate room for cyclists and pedestrians, and better waste management and recycling.

    Here’s a summary of the full database results:

    Thoughts?

    Victoria Scotthttp://toryscott.wordpress.com
    Victoria Scott is Editor-at-Large at Doha News. Before moving to Qatar in 2009, she was a broadcast journalist for BBC News for eight years. She's also worked for Al Jazeera, Reuters and The Telegraph. She has a postgraduate degree in Broadcast Journalism from City University, London, and an undergraduate degree in English Language and Literature from King's College, London.

    14 COMMENTS

      • Not this sort of pollution, this has to do more with sand particles… Effects those with asthma… However carbon emissions from ras laffan and masiaed are directly related with high cancer rates

        • no no, it is correlated to cancer. And it is well known. It causes asthma but in the long run this is toxic for our health.

    1. I don’t know why many international agencies are teasing Qatar since it was awarded the hosting the World Cup. It seems to me it is either jealously, blackmailing or defaming. Why blame Qatar for what is also common in other GCC or other countries. They just want Qatar to withdraw from the World Cup.

      • You seriously believe that? That WHO the UN the International Trade Union etc have secret meetings and make up bad reports all based on facts and or scientific research just because they want a silly game of soccer stopped? No one really cares that Qatar has the cup. How are they blackmailing? Why would they be jealous? Defaming how when the reports are based in researched facts. In this case it is obvious that the pollution rate will be high with such expansion and construction. Secondly the environment in Qatar is not environmentally suitable for such a big population so energy use and subsequent pollution is high example- desalination plant, high power consumption re air conditioners, high car use due to heat minimal public transport no real footpaths etc. Delusional. Go to Hamad and ask to see the psychologists and explain your theory to them.

      • Teasing? Blaming? What a stupid statement. This effects the health of every single person living in Doha, it’s meant to encourage Qatar to improve the quality of life for its citizens, using feedback based on information that Qatar itself supplied. How do you expect Qatar to improve by remaining ignorant of these facts?

      • Please rethink consequences of your attitude.
        They tell us we do something wrong – they are against us – therefore are trying to smear us – so they lie – the only thing we should do is to stand strong and reject this false allegations, we are proud nation with great traditions. Results – everything stays the same. Including polluted air.
        And now imagine the opposite: they tell us we do something wrong. Maybe they are right? Let’s check. Ah, they are right. Let’s think how to rectify the problem.
        See the difference?

      • According to that logic – what are India, Pakistan and Iran (who are higher up on the list) being defamed for? What World Cup were they awarded?

    2. This report confirm what we observe every day.

      The results from the environmental control stations from Ras Laffan, Dhukan and Mesaieed Industrial area need to be included as well (and I hope that control stations exist in these areas). Only results from Doha and Wakra have been reported in the WHO overview.

      PM2.5 is a killer much worse than diabetes as it affects us all.

    3. There’s a reason the workers cover their faces. At my workplace I can hear them in the toilet, hacking up globs from their lungs.

    4. after running on the corniche for years, this news is worrying. i’ve have nasal polyps removed twice which maybe have been due the pollution! I would like to see stricter emissions controls. People will ultimately pay the price with their health

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