Kulhudhuffushi air quality improves with seasonal wind changes

A map showcasing the reduction of air quality in Kulhudhuffushi City.

The air quality of Kulhudhuffushi City has drastically improved with the seasonal shift of wind to the west.

Kulhudhuffushi City experienced a reduction in air quality last Friday, to dangerous levels as a result of dust and smoke carried to Maldives area from the Himalayan foothills across the Bay of Bengal due to the shift in seasonal winds.

When asked for an update today, an official from the Maldives Metrological Service (MET office) told Sun that while the air quality has improved there is a chance it could still deteriorate.

“When the wind changes direction to the East again, the air quality will decrease to some extent,” they said.

As per the official, the poorest air quality in Kulhudhuffushi was recorded on last Friday, which was at dangerous levels.

In a tweet regarding the poor air quality at Kulhudhuffushi, Dr. Mohamed Ali cautioned residents of the island to take precautions over potential health risks by decreasing hours spend outdoors. He also advised wearing masks when going outdoors, using air purifiers indoors and adhering to instructions from the Environment Ministry.

The reduction of air quality in Kulhudhuffushi City.

Male’ area also saw a reduction in the quality of air, and poor visibility resulting from a haze last week.

Unlike fog or mist despite similar appearances – haze is a phenomenon where dry particles of dust, salt, aerosols, or photochemical smog that are so small that they cannot be felt or seen individually with the naked eye, but the aggregate reduces horizontal visibility and gives the atmosphere an opalescent appearance is suspended in the atmosphere.

When inquired whether the haze currently experienced in the Maldives poses any health risks – HPA told Sun that increase in the levels of the dry particles known as ‘PM2.5’ will pose greater health risks.

They noted the increased vulnerability of sensitive individuals – naming them as infants, young children, elderly, expectant mothers, people with heart or lung conditions and people with allergies.

HPA noted that the air quality in the Maldives can also be identified through Environment Ministry’s link or through the renowned mobile application ‘IQAIR Visual’. The application can be used to identify the rates of

Identification of the levels of 'PM2.5' in the air. (Photo/HPA)

‘PM2.5’ in the atmosphere.

The colored categories in the application can be used as a guide to identify the level of health risks to different groups of people.

These categories are green, yellow, orange, red, a bright purple and a dark purple. Green represents good air quality which poses little or no risk. Yellow represents moderate air quality, for which sensitive individuals have been advised to avoid outdoor activity as they may experience respiratory system. Orange represents air quality unhealthy for sensitive groups which recommends that they are at risk to experience irritation and respiratory problems. Red represents unhealthy – which increases the likelihood of adverse effects and aggravation to the heart and lunge among general public. Bright purple represents very unhealthy – due to which general public will noticeably be affected, whereas sensitive groups must entirely restrict outdoor activities. Dark purple represents hazardous – meaning general public is at high risk of experiencing strong irritations and adverse health activities, therewith, must avoid outdoor activities.