Sahara dust will be in the country for more than 96 hours

For approximately 96 hours, the presence of the Sahara Dust will be felt in much of the Venezuelan territory, the National Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology (Inameh) reported through its social networks.

The entity stated in one of its messages that this phenomenon consists of reducing humidity, in addition to significantly limiting horizontal visibility.

The agency detailed in its social networks that the arrival of the Saharan dust occurred in the eastern part of the country, which will reduce air quality and horizontal visibility.

"Slight to moderate concentrations of Saharan dust persist in the country, especially in the eastern portion, this particulate material is expected to reach the northern coastal and central Venezuelan fringe, the next 48 hours," the entity released yesterday on Twitter.

According to the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, located in Miami, this phenomenon consists of the displacement of a very dry and dust-laden air mass that forms over the Sahara desert in the spring, during the summer and early in the fall, and usually moves into the North Atlantic Ocean every three to five days.

This layer of dust can extend vertically 1.500 to 6.000 meters high in the troposphere and is related to large amounts of dry air, since it does not contain water in any way.

What is the dust of the Sahara?

It is a dry powder that contains sand and microparticles of minerals and dirt particles. It forms over the Sahara Desert in late spring, summer, and as fall begins. It can become one of the elements that allows the formation of tropical cyclones, according to digital media.

Likewise, it was known that this dust is harmful to health since it mainly affects people with respiratory problems. The consequences are related to allergic rhinitis, runny nose, eye irritation and in the case of people with asthma, a crisis may occur.

To take care

The World Health Organization warned with concern that the dust from the Sahara contains bacteria, mercury, viruses, iron and pesticides, which is why people who suffer from respiratory problems are now threatened not only by covid-19, but by this dust.

"These storms, when they manage to concentrate and reach populated areas of Europe and America, can cause the appearance of allergies and asthmatic crises in many people", indicated the WHO.

He added that when these dust storms occur it is common for people to report cases of flu or allergies. "They may have been caused by contact with particles of biological origin," they say.

Likewise, the scientific community revealed the connection between the largest hot desert on the planet, the Sahara, and the largest forest mass on Earth, the Amazon. The dust clouds that come out from Africa are able to cross the Atlantic and travel loaded with elements such as phosphorus, nitrogen, potassium, calcium and iron, which when deposited on the Amazon rainforest help fertilize the soil.

They highlighted that each year about 180 million tons are precipitated. The desert sand crosses the ocean pushed by the eastern component trade winds, the same ones that they claim carried Columbus to America.

WHO recommendations

  • Use of the mask. If you don't have one on hand, cover your nose and mouth with a damp cloth.
  • Avoid leaving home. Older adults, children, and pregnant women should be kept home during dust concentrations to prevent respiratory illness.
  • Do not leave containers of clean water uncovered. Prevent water reservoirs from being polluted by dust from the Sahara desert cloud. 
  • Wash your eyes and hands. In case of any strange sensation in your eyes, use plenty of water to wash.
  • Use goggles as a barrier to protect your eyes from dust.
  • Close the windows. Do not allow air circulation between the windows. Keep the main ones closed.
  • Cover the floors with a little water when sweeping to avoid raising dust.

With information from Marliery Gorrín and Andyvell Román



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