What are the impacts of sandstorms and how to mitigate them?

What are the impacts of sandstorms and how to mitigate them?

Nowadays sandstorms have become a remarkable issue in the middle east and particularly in Iraq.

What are the causes:

  • Lack of perecipatation,
  • Climate change,
  • Soil erosion,
  • War and military movement,
  • Lack of vegetation,
  • Deforestation,
  • Lack of sustainable development and land use.

Sandstorms have significant negative impacts on society, the environment, and the economy. The impacts can be local regional and global scale.

The significant health, environmental, and social impacts are as below:

  • Dust carries airborn pollutant such as toxins, heavey metals and, psticides, etc.
  • Increase environmental hazards relating to transportation, building and health.
  • Dust deposition on landscape can cause drying of leaves, retard the growth of plant and cause damage to crops.
  • Dust in water can obstruct the penetration of sunlight into the water courses.
  • Road accidents and avation problem due to low visilibity.
  • Crops damage.
  • Construction, and infrastruction damage.
  • Immigration of people
  • Economy damage and, losing jobs.


The mitigation measures:

Use dust mask, and drink alot of fluids.

  • Put wet tawel around mouth and nose.
  • Avoid outdoor activities.
  • Close doors, windows tightly.
  • Clean nose, and mouth.
  • Increase vegetation to cover soil.
  • Plantation of native trees.
  • Take extra precoution, for elderly, children and sick people.
  • Implementation of  environmental plan for the projects.
  • Consider sustainable development for the projects.





Recommendation about masks and COVID19

Reference: WHO website

Masks can control transmission of virus and saved life. The use of masks alone is not sufficient for protection against COVID19. We should also maintain a minimum physical distance of at least 1 metre from others, frequently clean your hands and avoid touching your face and mask.

Type of masks

Medical masks (also known as surgical masks)

These are made from a minimum of three layers of synthetic nonwoven materials, and configured to have filtration layers sandwiched in the middle. These masks are available in different thicknesses, have various levels of fluid-resistance and two levels of filtration. These medical masks reduce the respiratory droplets from the wearer to others and to the environment. They also prevent transmission of the virus from others to the wearer.

Medical masks can protect people wearing the mask from getting infected, as well as can prevent those who have symptoms from spreading them. WHO recommends the following groups use medical masks.

  • Health workers
  • Anyone with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19, including people with mild symptoms 
  • People caring for suspect or confirmed cases of COVID-19 outside of health facilities

Medical masks are also recommended for these at-risk people, when they are in areas of widespread transmission and they cannot guarantee a distance of at least 1 metre from others:

  • People aged 60 or over
  • People of any age with underlying health conditions

When and how to use the masks

Respirators (also known as filtering facepiece respirators – FFP) and available at different performance levels such as FFP2, FFP3, N95, N99): these are specifically designed for healthcare workers who provide care to COVID-19 patients in settings and areas where aerosol generating procedures are undertaken. Healthcare workers should be fit tested before using a respirator to ensure that they are wearing the correct size.

Non-medical masks (also known as fabric masks, home-made masks, DIY masks) can act as a barrier to prevent the spread of the virus from the wearer to others.

They can be purchased commercially or handmade, and are generally not standardized like medical masks. There are numerous types of fabric masks, they should cover the nose, mouth, and chin and be secured with elastic loops or ties, include multiple layers, be washable and reusable.

Remember, the use of a fabric mask alone is not sufficient to provide an adequate level of protection. Maintain a minimum physical distance of at least 1 metre from others, frequently clean your hands and continue to avoid touching your face and the mask.

WHO will be referring to non-medical masks as fabric masks.

Non-medical, fabric masks are being used by many people in public areas, but there has been limited evidence on their effectiveness and WHO does not recommend their widespread use among the public for control of COVID-19. However, for areas of widespread transmission, with limited capacity for implementing control measures and especially in settings where physical distancing of at least 1 metre is not possible – such as on public transport, in shops or in other confined or crowded environments – WHO advises governments to encourage the general public to use non-medical fabric masks.

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