Qatar Emphasizes Sustainable Approaches to Ensure Clean Air

Doha, Qatar: As the world observes the International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies, Qatar underscores the significance of adopting sustainable practices to ensure the maintenance of pristine air quality, according to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MoECC).

In a message posted on social media, the Ministry stated, "Qatar is commemorating the International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies to highlight the crucial role of clean air in preserving the environment and human well-being. We encourage sustainable approaches to uphold air quality and reduce harmful emissions."

Air pollution remains one of the most pressing global environmental challenges, contributing to approximately seven million premature deaths annually and numerous health conditions. Both urban and rural areas suffer from ambient (outdoor) air pollution, characterized by fine particulate matter that can lead to strokes, heart diseases, lung cancer, and various acute and chronic respiratory ailments.

Air pollution comprises various harmful substances, including carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, nitrogen oxide, ground-level ozone, particulate matter, sulphur dioxide, hydrocarbons, and lead, all of which pose risks to human health.

In 2020, Qatar was recognized as one of the Middle East countries with the highest levels of air pollution. It recorded over 76 micrograms per cubic meter of fine particulate matter (PM2.5), a highly detrimental air quality pollutant. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that annual PM2.5 concentrations should not exceed an average of 5 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m³).

Doha, in particular, grapples with air pollution caused primarily by dust storms and emissions from vehicles and industries. According to IQAir, a Swiss air quality information and technology company, Doha's PM2.5 concentration currently exceeds the WHO annual air quality guideline value by 13.2 times.

The Middle East faces a substantial air pollution challenge due to its reliance on fossil fuels and desert climates. Experts advocate for greater emphasis on economic diversification, environmentally friendly and sustainable transportation methods, and investment in innovative technologies to drive the adoption of renewable energy sources.

In response to the issue of poor air quality, Qatar has implemented various policies and established air quality monitoring units across the nation, with a target of reaching 50 units by the end of 2022. Additionally, the Ministry launched the National Action Plan for Climate Change, which encompasses approximately 35 initiatives aimed at reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in all sectors by 25% by 2030. Qatar has also committed to investing in low-carbon technologies to further combat air pollution and enhance environmental sustainability.