In the coming days, the islands will experience a new outbreak of Saharan dust that will leave the environment quite “cloudy” and an air quality that will be “very unfavourable or dangerous” at times, according to the Meteored air quality index.
The concentrations of PM10 particles will exceed 150-250 micrograms per cubic metre, occasionally reaching 400. The World Health Organisation considers air quality unfavourable when it exceeds 45.
A powerful anticyclone that will be located over the Iberian Peninsula, with a secondary core in the Sahara, will drive winds from the south and east towards the Canary archipelago, with gusts that will be intense, of more than 70 km/h.
On El Hierro, they could even go over 90 km/h.
These winds will transport suspended dust from North Africa to the archipelago, which will reduce visibility and increase the turbidity of the sky.
From a health point of view, Meteored says the particles that are of most concern are those of 10 microns or less – for example PM2.5 – since they have a greater chance of passing through the different defences that the body has and reaching the interior. from the lungs and bloodstream, although prolonged or repetitive exposure to PM10 can cause harmful effects on people’s respiratory system.
Therefore, at times during this “calima” the air quality will be “dangerous”, especially during the day on Thursday, when according to the maps the most adverse situation is expected.
The Government of the Canary Islands has launched several recommendations in response to the pre-alert for haze, confirming the conditions could cause health problems for people with chronic or respiratory diseases.
It is advising extreme precautions and to put into practice the self-protection recommendations established for these cases.
“It is important to keep doors and windows closed and avoid going outside if possible if you suffer from chronic respiratory diseases.
Likewise, it is advisable to drink plenty of fluids, avoid dry environments and make sure you have your usual medication on hand,” say Canary health chiefs.
“Furthermore, it is advisable not to perform severe physical exercise while this situation persists and, given the possible reduction in visibility on the road, drivers should moderate their speed to avoid accidents.”