Hidden criminal behind rising dust levels

More and more days of the year have dangerous levels of dust, but it’s not fair to blame Sahara alone

Government-issued dust alerts appear to be comparable to Cyprus courses in the last few years. We are usually told that only vulnerable groups should take precautions, while the rest complain a little, but just the inconvenience of dusty cars and windows makes Whoopi Goldberg There are a few audio effects.

The usual explanation that dust arrives abroad, generally from Sahara, and is regularly covered with dust while losing visibility until the sun goes dark, must be paid unfairly to the geographical location of the island. The price is good weather for the rest of the year.

But the much bigger story is hidden under the rather harmless wording of “dust in the air,” and if you dig a little deeper, you’ll begin to see the voice of the seasonal Woopy and a little dusty car. ” The problem of the world’.

Increasing frequency and duration of dust episodes is fairly common knowledge and a fact confirmed by Kleanthis Nicolaides, director of the Department of Meteorology. April alone recorded 20 days with dust above safe levels. In other words, dangerous air was the norm for two-thirds of the moon.

Cyprus physicians highlight and confirm the correlation between dust episodes and uptics in hospitalization and death, and in a recent study WHO’s East Mediterranean Regional Office (EMRO) consistently impacted dust’s negative effects on cardiopulmonary health. Cited the toxicology and epidemiological studies shown in.

In response to these alarming facts, experts pop up blaming the usual “bad guys” for air pollution: global warming, climate change, fossil fuels, greenhouse gases, appliances such as heaters, gasoline. Drive cars, diesel engines, wood-burning fireflies … These are known criminals whose toxic by-products not only produce dust particles, but also cause desertification by slowly roasting our planet.

A quicker response to this situation is the issuance of updates every 10 minutes via the “AirQualityCyprus” app detailing particle size and exact concentration. The services we meet are punch-punched with the shiny new upgrades expected through their measurement and record toys and the recently signed memorandum of understanding with Israeli responders.

Meanwhile, the Cyprus Institute is proudly praised as a “regional hub for climate change research” due to the fact that we and our neighbors are hit hardest. In fact, according to the United Nations Environment Program, the Mediterranean region is warming 20 percent faster than the world average.

We are left with the feeling that climate change and mitigation occur very far physically and socially. We need to “learn to live” in yet another man-made disaster that is beyond our control.

This reaction is understandable, as little mention is made of activities in other regions that contribute significantly to dust levels in Cyprus and elsewhere, at least as it can be said to exacerbate seasonal African air. ‘Problem.

To really see what we’re experiencing when looking at a muddy haze with mountains through a dirty window, we need to work a little backwards and connect some points. And the starting point for all points is a grain of soil.

When was it possible to claim that most of us finally thought a lot about the soil? But soil poverty and the resulting desertification is the zero point of our “dust in the air.” The soil is not only what we live on, but decisively where our food comes from. Without soil, we humans would starve, so perhaps in minutes we could dig into the soil and see how it works.

To understand the soil, it is important to know that it is composed of the topsoil and the layers below it. Without becoming too technical, a healthy topsoil is rich in organic matter.

Organic matter contributes to food productivity by affecting the physical, chemical and biological properties of the soil. Depletion of this organic matter causes soil poverty, resulting in reduced soil productivity.

Another thing that happens when organic matter is lost is that the soil loses its structure-in other words, it turns into dust. Healthy soil acts as a sponge to retain water. Dust-turned soil can no longer hold water and contain the microorganisms needed for healthy plant growth. Do you know where this is heading?

But the melancholy sequence does not end here. When less water penetrates the soil, it flows out when it rains and carries away the topsoil. And the spill leads to more … dust, especially to the undesired ones.

The recent winter flood that brought a little sense of joy that many of us were coveted, “at least” we could tell each other, “summer water supplies are categorized!” A little Start taking edges … more water is good only as long as the soil has the ability to absorb it, and as long as it can replenish the underground aquifer.

If you look at a picture of how soil and dust are interrelated, you won’t be able to see it. The seasonal phenomenon of haze and warning, which many assume is primarily applicable to asthma patients, begins to look like a nightmare rather than a temporary one.

Head Faculty of Environment Professor Demetris Sarris, a member of KES College and an expert in terrestrial agriculture / ecosystem management (ie soil), said that most of the dust actually comes from Sahara, but this is what Cyprus says. It doesn’t end there. One problem is that the desertification of Africa has expanded the Sahara Desert toward the north. This is happening not only due to climate change, but also due to poor soil management and poor agricultural practices. And at least some of these are happening in our own backyard.

Desertification can be caused by climate change, but it can also be caused by leaving the soil “naked”. That is, it does not have any kind of plant called a ground cover plant and protects the soil. Some might think of this as a “chicken or the egg” issue, but the fact remains that at least the situation can be improved if we find a way to cover the soil.

So what can we do to mitigate the desertification here in Cyprus instead of raising our hands? Salis first has one idea. The local community needs to invest in a joint woodchipper and shredder. This doesn’t seem like a particularly bold endeavor for anyone who reasonably likes to see and breathe the sun.

Featuring iole dust that obstructs Nicosia's view

Dust that obstructs the view of Nicosia.

Currently, Mr. Salis explained that farmers receive government subsidies when their land is not cultivated. Bare soil appears to be uncultivated, so farmers are encouraged to burn the natural plant covers from the fields or burn until the soil looks like uncultivated land.

Instead, Salis may encourage the practice of covering the ground with wild plants, wood chips, or other shredded organic matter called mulching, trapping water and at the same time contributing to soil health in other ways. I suggested that I could do it. For example, farmers’ subsidies can be tied not only to fields on fallow land, but also to fields where natural groundcover remains or is mulched.

Farmers already have a lot of organic matter available by pruning and harvesting. It has to be traditionally burned or driven to a designated “green spot” that many farmers consider troublesome. Enter your community’s wood chippers and shredders. Farmers can short-distance transport the pruned and harvested plant material to a local mulching center, shave it, chop it into small pieces, and bring it back to cover the fields.

What about the danger of fire? Wouldn’t a field with wild vegetation remaining in the summer months be more prone to fire?

Professor Salis suggested, but not always, an alternative, instead of aggressively cultivating, to mow the fields and leave cuttings to compost and fertilize the soil. This method keeps the ground moist and will move very slowly in the event of a fire.

Yet another cheap solution is to use refractory plants such as humble prickly pear as a hedge, traditionally used for this purpose and with the added benefit of creating a good windbreak. ..

What is clear is that the increased level and frequency of dust is not something that everyone can afford to take lightly, or that experts should simply wait to save us.

Our growers, as our current understanding allows, can begin to engage in soil conservation practices, even on a small scale, as we progress. And the people we eat, all of us, can probably make an effort to more consciously question the growing practices behind our diet.

The next time you’re about to eat a bite of potatoes, stop for a moment and imagine the soil it was clinging to. For carnivores, stop and imagine the soil attached to the roots of wheat. Your skewered souvlaki was eaten.

As Professor Salis said, “I can’t say’I love this land, I love Cyprus’, and then I can’t love and care for the soil. teeth land. This is what we need to achieve. “ Hidden criminal behind rising dust levels

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