The Sahara Dust event as at 11:00 am on Friday 26 June 2020. (Image courtesy Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service)

The Environmental Management Authority (EMA) has issued an update on the air quality in this country, as the current Sahara Dust event continues, reporting the latest readings at UNHEALTHY status.

The Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service (TTMS) has indicated that the Saharan dust is forecast to be present in our atmosphere in significant amounts for the next 3-4 days.

According to the latest release from the EMA, as at 4:30pm today, Friday 26th June 2020, the Monitoring Stations in Point Lisas and Signal Hill respectively, have registered an UNHEALTHY Air Quality Index (AQI) on both islands.

The Point Lisas Station has registered an AQI of 152, while the Signal Hill Station recorded an AQI of 154.

The EMA notes that there could be increased aggravation of respiratory symptoms in sensitive groups on both islands, including older adults, children, and people with respiratory ailments and allergies.

It also warns of 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.

The EMA also advises people in Trinidad and Tobago with heart or lung disease, older adults, children, and people with respiratory ailments and allergies to avoid prolonged or heavy exertion.

It also urges everyone else to reduce prolonged or heavy exertion.

ABOUT THE 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.