Qatar was among the Middle Eastern nations with the highest air pollution levels in 2020.
Black carbon particles from air pollution can affect developing organs in foetuses as early as the first trimester of pregnancy, according to a recent study.
Newborn babies and their placenta are exposed to air pollution, specifically black carbon nanoparticles, to the same extent as their carrier, the research said.
Researchers at Hasselt University in Belgium and the University of Aberdeen in the United Kingdom examined 60 mother-neonate pairs that included newborns as young as four weeks old.
They investigated whether the foetus could be exposed to black carbon, a sooty black substance released into the air by fossil fuel burning sources like internal combustion engines and coal-fired power plants.
What they discovered proved that black carbon particles can cross the placenta and enter the foetal circulation system because they were present in cord blood, the blood that remains in the placenta and umbilical cord after the birth of a baby.
Additionally, this study is the first to show that black carbon nanoparticles can enter the foetus in the womb as early as the first trimester of pregnancy through the placenta.
Air pollution in Qatar
With a US AQI reading of 132 at the beginning of 2021, Doha’s air quality was deemed to be “unhealthy for sensitive groups.” This classification is based on the World Health Organization’s suggested values. The pollutant PM2.5 had a 48.2 g/m3 concentration.
Natural processes like fire and wind-driven erosion as well as human activities like farming, vehicle exhaust, and construction all produce air pollutants. Smoke, dirt, and dust are a few examples.
The main contributors to Doha’s air pollution are dust storms, vehicle emissions, and industrial emissions.
As demonstrated by its significant contribution to GHG (GreenHouse Gas) emissions, the energy sector has the greatest negative impact on the quality of the air in the environment. Oil, liquefied natural gas, refining, petrochemical, and other businesses are included in this.
The industrial process, which accounts for up to 3% of all GHG in Qatar, is the second biggest cause of air pollution. Qatar’s industrial processes are divided into four main categories: metal and other production, chemical industry, mineral production, and chemical industry.
For each of these four areas, GHG emissions are disclosed, with carbon dioxide (CO2) being the most significant gas. Chemical reactions are responsible for 81.7% of all carbon dioxide emissions.
Qatar was also among the Middle Eastern nations with the highest air pollution levels in 2020. It was discovered to contain more than 76 g/m3 (microns per cubic metre) of PM2.5, or fine particulate matter. This elevated it above Egypt, which is infamous for having air of poor quality.
95% of the people in the country live in Doha, where the Qatar Environmental and Energy Research Institute runs a network of five air quality monitoring stations spread out in key areas.
These stations are designed to evaluate the local air quality, comprehend how it affects people’s productivity and health, and spot any advancements in pollution-reduction strategies.
As part of the national effort to combat air pollution, these stations, along with the air quality prediction platform created by the Environment and Sustainability Centre, strengthen the position of the Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute and enable it to have a bigger impact.