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Dust levels dangerously high in all towns

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Cyprus continues to suffer from high levels of dust particles in the atmosphere for the fifth day in a row, three to four times above normal readings, with the Department of Labour Inspection warning the public on Monday to stay indoors.

High concentrations of dust are observed in all towns, with measurements from ground stations of the Air Quality Monitoring Network showed Paphos to be worst off with 7am readings at 190.4 micrograms per cubic meter, higher than Sunday’s 138.9 μg/m3 and nearly four times the ‘safe’ marker of 50 μg/m3.

This is a change from Saturday, when Nicosia had the highest readings of 164.7 μg/m3, from 103.7 on Thursday, rising to 177.5 μg/m3 on Monday.

Paralimni had the next highest with 159.4 μg/m3 on Monday morning, 147.0 μg/m3 in Larnaca, 131.6 μg/m3 in Limassol.

Dust level readings topped 140.8 μg/m3 at the Agia Marina Xyliatou station, with the lowest 87.4  μg/m3 at Zygi.

“The public, and particularly any vulnerable groups of population (children, older people, and the infirm) are urged to avoid circulating in open spaces until the observed episode has elapsed, as the small size of respirable particles in dust may have negative effects on human health,” the Labour Inspection Dept. warned.

It added that employers must take appropriate measures and assess any risks that their employees may face while working in open areas, and it is recommended that workers in such spaces use appropriate means of personal protection.

The Labour Inspection Dept. explained that ‘dust’ refers to respirable particulate matter of a diameter smaller than 10 μm (PM10) in the air. According to the relevant legislation, a limit value not to be exceeded is set for the daily average concentrations at 50 μg/m3 (micrograms per cubic meter).