Dust haze has affected Barbados the previous week and is likely to occur again. Currently, there is plume of thick Saharan dust in the Atlantic which is expected to affect Barbados from Tuesday, 6th February 2024.
The main source of Dust haze which affects Barbados originates from the Saharan desert. Dust haze is a form of haze where the particles have been raised into the atmosphere by a dust storm or sandstorm.
The Saharan dust has engulfed countries from Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago in the south to Barbados and Saint Lucia in the east.
Dust Haze can occur at any time throughout the year. The local meteorological agencies have issued some precautions that must be followed due to the health and safety risks associated with the dust. The condition is expected to subside over the next few days gradually.
According to UNEP, Climate change, drought, land degradation, and conflicts are among the causes of excess Saharan dust deposits. Poor air quality and/or polluted air is one of the largest environmental risks to health.
Persons suffering from Respiratory Conditions like Asthma, bronchitis, Pneumonia, chronic lung disease, heart disease and allergies are at high risk of being impacted.
Special attention should be paid to the Elderly and small children.
Smallcraft operators and fishermen should exercise caution. Decreased visibility due to high concentrations of dust haze can be a hazard to persons at sea.
During a haze event, some persons may experience throat itching, coughing, watery and sore eyes, runny nose, frequent sneezing, breathing difficulty, and shortness of breath.
During a haze event, patients suffering from respiratory conditions should take relevant medications as prescribed by medical practitioners. Staying hydrated can help the body flush out any toxins absorbed by your lungs and skin.
Always monitor the BMS for updates and dust haze forecasts.