Air Pollution: A Growing Danger to the Ages and the Health of Egyptians

The new Coronavirus (COVID -19) represents a greater danger to the inhabitants of the regions that suffer from air pollution. This pollution resulted in the early death of about 7 million annually across the world, as it causes severe and chronic respiratory disease, diabetes, cardiology, high blood pressure, and another disease. Such diseases put its patients in much more danger and vulnerability to death if they get infected by COVID -19, the majority of the pandemic’s deaths were among the chronic patients.t according to the Egyptian Ministry of Health.

A research paper issued by the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights entitled “Air Pollution… A mounting burden on the shoulders of Egyptians” has revealed the high levels of air pollution in Egypt to exceed the world averages which resulted in the deaths of more than 67 thousand of Egyptians in 2016 only, also it causes a loss of two years from the ages of every Egyptian because of illness or health impairment, accompanied by the lack of any serious measures from the government to confront the growing pollution. 

The World Average Don’t Suit Us!

The Paper used a single indicator from pollution indicators which is the fine particle indicator (PM 2.5) as it’s the most relevant to the assessment studies of health impact caused by air pollution, besides that these particles one of the most dangerous pollutants because of its ability to penetrate respiratory easily and the ability to stick in the air for long periods which threaten with transforming into virus carriers in the air.

According to the World Health Organization, the safe limit of the density of these particles is 2.5 Micron per year, which is 10 Microgram per Cubic meter. While Egypt is setting another standard differ from the global average which is 50 microgram per cubic meter. According to the available data released from the Ministry of Environment dating back to 2016, the density average of the fine particles 2.5 PM exceeded the safe limits compared with the WHO guide and the Egyptian law standards both. That the monitoring of the annual average density of the particles in just 13 governorates was above the safe limit in all of them according to WHO guide, while just 11 who exceeded the safe limit according to the Egyptian law.

For instance, in Aswan governorate, the average of the particles recorded 313 micrograms per cubic meter, which is 5 times the Egyptian Average, and 15 times the world average. In Asyut the average of the particles recorded 271 micrograms per cubic meter, while it recorded 163 micrograms per cubic meter in Cairo.

Through the calculation of the available governorates’ averages the total density average of the fine particles 2.5 Om in Egypt is 144 micrograms per cubic meter compared with 79.3 micrograms according to WHO, and 126 micrograms according to the World Bank.

Thus, Egypt is classified among the highest countries whose inhabitants are exposed to inhalation of the fine particles 2.5 PM. 

According to joint research conducted by research centers and universities as the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, Egypt came third place globally regarding the average density of the fine particles of 2.5 PM.

Fatal loss of life and money

“All individuals have the right to a healthy environment. The State shall safeguard the environment against pollution, and promote the use of natural resources in a manner that prevents damage to the environment and preserves the rights of future generations.”
Article no. 63 of the Egyptian Constitution 2019.

The estimates of health damages because of the fine particles 2.5 PM varying according to the available data of the years and the numbers of the documented diseases and deaths in different places, also it’s varying according to the calculation method of averages and equations.

Anyway, however, the differences of data or sources published, Egypt come on top of the list of the highest countries affected by air pollution in the death records, as well as the average number of years lost due to death, and the average years of life lost due to disability resulting from illness or early death. According to 2016 death and disability average database of WHO because of diseases related to air Pollution of the fine particles 2.5 PM, Every Egyptian lose about two years because of illness, health disability and death because of the pollution of the surrounding air, it’s one of the highest averages globally.  According to the 2016 death index of WHO because of diseases related to air Pollution of the fine particles 2.5 PM, air Pollution caused the deaths of 67434 Egyptians during 2016, which is 105 per 100 thousand inhabitants.

The economic cost of air pollution is estimated at 3.58% of 2013 GDP, according to a report issued by the World Bank, which is a financial loss of tens of billions of pounds.

Despite all this, El-Sisi’s regime is failing to take measures to reduce pollution, while the legal regulations that protect the environment are ignored and the application of environmental rules and standards provided in the Egyptian law isn’t activated despite its weakness.