|The Main Air Pollution Problem in
There are numerous sources to air pollution
in Egypt, as in other countries. However, the formation and levels
of dust, small particles and soot are more characteristic in Egypt
than presently found in industrialized countries. Some of the
sources for these pollutants, such as industries, open-air waste
burning and transportation, were also well known problems in most
countries only 10 to 20 years ago.
Another important source
for particulate matter is the wind blown dust from the arid areas.
These particles are, however, to be found in the larger particle
fraction. We will show, for instance from data collected at Tabbin
in southern Cairo, that the inhalable (thoracic) particles (diameter
less than 10 micrometer, PM10 ) are mainly generated from industrial
To illustrate the
magnitude of the suspended particulate matter problem, Figure 2 shows the
percentage of exceedance of air Quality limit value during the year
Figure 2: The
percentage of Exceedance of PM10 to Air Quality Limit value of Egypt
during the year of 2001.
Suspended dust (measured as PM10 and TSP) can be seen to be a major
air pollution problem in Egypt. PM10 concentrations can
exceed daily average concentrations during 98% of the measurement
period. The Exceedances are highest in industrial areas. On the
other hand it seems that the natural background of PM10 in Egypt may be close to or around the
Air Quality Limit value. These levels can be found also in areas
where local anthropogenic sources do not impact the measurements.
Further measurements may be used in the future to quantify the
relative importance of the different sources relative to a
background level that varies dependent upon the area
In addition to particles, also SO2 in urban areas and in
industrial areas, as well as NO2 and CO in the streets
may exceed the Air Quality Limit value.