By Faten Omar
KUWAIT: The Green Line Environmental Group has warned the Kuwaiti government about worsening air pollution in the country. In its weekly environment newsletter, Green Line said Kuwait is among the most polluted countries in the world, according to the World Air Quality Index, where Kuwait is ranked 11th over high rates of air pollution.
The environmental group said the global index monitors PM2.5, most dangerous particulate matter, adding Kuwait faces a huge environmental problem caused by the oil sector and other industrial operations that lead to a high density of dangerous emissions. PM2.5 includes toxins like sulfate and black carbon, which pose the greatest health risks since they can penetrate deep into the lungs or cardiovascular system.
According to Green Line, air pollution is worsening daily despite government promises to address this problem since the establishment of the Environment Public Authority in 1995. Environmental expert Mansoura Khurabet, Green Line Vice President for Environmental and Scientific Affairs, has previously issued similar warnings. “We are constantly warning about PM2.5, which is the most severe type of air pollutant and the most dangerous to public health in Kuwait,” she said.
Khurabet stressed air pollution is considered a crime that violates environmental and human rights, and it is necessary to hold those who cause it responsible, indicating PM2.5 leads to health effects that depend on the period of exposure. If a person is exposed to PM2.5 emissions for a short period, the symptoms are cough, intense tightening in the chest and a feeling of suffocation. But if the exposure is for longer periods, it may have serious outcomes such as cancer, chronic lung disease and heart and blood diseases.
A full 99 percent of people on Earth breathe air containing too many pollutants, the World Health Organization said last month, blaming poor air quality for an estimated seven million deaths each year. Fresh data from the UN health agency showed that every corner of the globe is dealing with air pollution, although the problem is much worse in poorer countries.