According to research performed by the United Nations, almost 173 million people in Pakistan are exposed to low and medium levels of poor air quality owing to sand and dust.
The “Sand and Dust storm risks assessment in Asia and the Pacific” released by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific on Thursday indicated that over 80% of Turkmenistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, and Iran’s total population is at risk for low and medium air quality.
More than 500 m in India, 62 m in Iran, and 40 m in China are exposed to poor air quality.
Sand and dust storms limit solar power generation, costing Pakistan around $37 million annually. This loss is 107 million dollars and 46 million dollars for China for India, respectively. Pakistan is the second country in the area to be subject to poor air quality among its population.
Exposure of aircraft motors to particulate matter in the aviation field is a significant danger along flight routes across central and southwest Asia. The Arabian Peninsula, Pakistan, India, and China are most influenced by flights to and from airports. Flights are delayed, deferred, or canceled since the airports are of poor visibility.
Depositing of dust in large agricultural regions is likewise impacted. 71% of the agricultural area is impacted in Turkmenistan, 49% in Pakistan, and 44% in Uzbekistan, respectively. Much of this dust is characterized by a high amount of salt that usually toxicants the dust to plants. This lowers yields and endangers agricultural production like cotton.
Himalayan-Hindu Kush and the Tibetan Plateau deposits are severe. Dust is severe. This pollution has a warming impact on glaciers and increases the melting of ice, which results directly and indirectly in stress of water and in floods.
South-West Asian cities are most vulnerable to sand and dust storms, which contribute significantly to poor air quality in Karachi, Lahore and Delhi, where close to 60m people had more than 170 dusty days a year in 2019.