Sahara Dust forecast as of 20 June 2020. [Image courtesy Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service (TTMS)]

The Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service (TTMS) is advising that the heaviest concentrations of Saharan Dust should begin to impact the islands from today, Sunday 21st June 2020.

According to the Met Service, this event is anticipated to last for the next four to five days at least and can reduce visibility significantly.

Persons who are sensitive to this change in air quality are strongly advised to take the necessary precautions.

For those living in Southern parts of Trinidad, the Air Quality Index (AQI) is described as being at unhealthy levels. They may experience:

  • increased aggravation of respiratory symptoms in sensitive groups—including older adults, children, and people with respiratory ailments and allergies;
  • increased aggravation of heart or lung disease and premature mortality in people with heart or lung disease; and
  • increased respiratory effects in the general population.

As such. people in Southern parts of Trinidad with heart or lung disease, older adults, children, and people with respiratory ailments and allergies should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion; everyone else should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion

The forecast for Tobago indicates the Air Quality Index (AQI) is at hazardous levels, which could mean:

  • serious aggravation of respiratory symptoms in sensitive groups including older adults, children, and people with respiratory ailments and allergies;
  • serious aggravation of heart or lung disease and premature mortality in people with heart or lung disease; and
  • serious risk of respiratory effects in general population.

Thus, Tobagonians ideally should avoid all physical activity outdoors. In addition, people with heart or lung disease, older adults, children, and people with respiratory ailments and allergies should remain indoors and keep activity levels low.

About Air Quality Index (AQI)

The air quality index is a number used by government agencies to communicate to the public how polluted the air currently is or how polluted it is forecast to become. As the AQI increases, an increasingly large percentage of the population is likely to experience increasingly severe adverse health effects.