Objectives & Vision
A dust storm is a phenomenon common to arid and semi-arid regions. Over the past 15 years, several studies have demonstrated that DDS in Mediterranean countries, originating mostly from the Sahara and Arabian Peninsula deserts, have been increasing in number and magnitude and linked it to desertification, climatic variability and global warming. EU legislation considers DDS impossible to prevent, implicitly harmless and discounts their contribution to daily and annual air quality standards of particulate matter up to 10 microns (PM10).
However, there is increasing evidence from epidemiological studies which correlates exposure to PM10 during DDS with a significant increase in mortality and hospital admissions from cardiovascular and respiratory causes. Therefore, there is a pressing need for EU policies to reduce population exposures and increase individual, population and institutional resilience to the growing frequency and intensity of DDS.
Toward this goal, in three of the most highly DDS-exposed Mediterranean regions Cyprus, Crete, and Israel we will accomplish the following specific objectives:
- Provide evidence for the development of a strategic plan for mitigation of health effects of DDS events through exposure reduction.
- Design easy to implement and sustainable exposure-reduction recommendations to follow during DDS.
- Demonstrate which of the recommendations are effective in reducing exposures to DDS and related adverse health effects in panels of adults with atrial fibrillation (AF) and children with asthma.
- Demonstrate the feasibility of applying models for early forecasting of DDS events and timely notification of the public, targeting susceptible individuals.
- Transfer efficiently the results to competent authorities, scientific community, social stakeholders and citizens in Cyprus, Crete, and Israel and network with target bodies in other DDS-exposed regions in South-Eastern Europe.
- Organize management activities for smooth completion of all deliverables.