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Environmental Issues

Environmental issues that affect Egypt are air pollution, water pollution and soil contamination. The formation of dust particles is more characteristic in Egypt than industrialised countries.

The air pollution in Cairo is a matter of serious concern. The air quality in downtown Cairo is more than 10 to 100 times of acceptable world standards. Cairo has a very poor dispersion factor because of lack of rain and its layout of tall buildings and narrow streets, which create a “bowl effect” (bad ventilation and consequent trapping of pollutants). The main air pollution problem in Egypt is the particulate matter. The most notable sources of the dust and small particles is transportation, industry and open-air waste-burning. Another significant source is the wind blown from arid areas around Egypt (e.g. Western Desert). The air in Egypt is very thick, grey and there is a haze over Cairo. Furthermore, other forms of air pollution in Egypt are sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in urban areas, as well as carbon monoxide (CO). The sky is not blue but grey, similar to Mexico City and Bangkok.

These pollutants, of course, creates a lot of respiratory diseases as the United States Environmental Protection Agency has published risk data which states that above the safe limit, the risk of developing serious respiratory disease and cancer from inhaling particulate in air (dust & soot and hydrocarbons, heavy metal compounds) is 2 persons for every 1,000.

From blaring car horns to wedding parties, rising noise pollution in the 24-hour metropolis of Cairo has reached alarming levels, leading to health problems. Living in the city centre, where noise levels reach an average of 90 decibels (dB) and never drop below 70 dB, is like spending all day inside a factory, a 2007 study by the Egyptian National Research Centre (NRC) said.





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