x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Ground-level ozone or smog and particulate matter are the major pollutants of concern in the UAE.

DUBAI // In 2008, scientists at the American University of Sharjah found the UAE’s cities were moderately polluted, compared with mega-cities such as Karachi in Pakistan, Mexico City, and Santiago in Chile.

The scientists used guidelines provided by the Environmental Protection Agency in the US.

Ground-level ozone or smog and particulate matter are the major pollutants of concern in the UAE.

Ozone exposure can cause respiratory diseases such as bronchitis and asthma. Particulate matter pollution has been related to respiratory and heart disease.

While natural causes play a role in the high concentrations of those pollutants, human actions also take their toll.

Regulating industry emissions, as proposed by the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi, will help to reduce harmful emissions.

Another step that may be considered in future is setting up vehicle emissions standards, following the experience of governments in Europe and North America.

* Vesela Todorova