Greece Air Quality Alert: Orange skies over Athens

What is the location of the dust storm?

Beginning on April 23, 2024, a severe Saharan dust storm affected air quality all across Greece, in particular in the capital city of Athens. The dust has tinged skies over southern Greece such as Crete and Thessaloniki orange, while worsening air quality across much of the eastern Mediterranean (1)(2)(3).

This event is characterized by strong winds carrying sand and dust particles across the Mediterranean Sea towards Europe, resulting in an orange haze over affected areas.

Greek authorities have described the event as the worst such incident to impact the country since 2018.

Which cities or areas are affected by the dust storm?

The primary cities and regions affected by the dust storm include:

  • Athens: The capital city of Greece, where the dust storm has blanketed landmarks such as the Acropolis and other ancient architecture.
  • Thessaloniki: Located in northern Greece, Thessaloniki has also been affected by the dust storm where air quality monitoring stations are recording moderate to unhealthy for sensitive groups levels of air quality.
  • Istanbul: Turkey’s largest city is experiencing air quality at levels that are unhealthy and unhealthy for sensitive groups.

The plume of dust has also impacted air quality in Bulgaria, Georgia, Moldova, Romania, the Ukraine, and the Caucasus region of Russia.

How long will the dust storm last?

The dust storm began on April 23, 2024, affecting various parts of Greece and the eastern Mediterranean. Forecasts suggest that the skies are expected to clear by Wednesday.

Are there any alerts in place?

Authorities have issued alerts and recommendations in response to the dust storm, particularly advising individuals with respiratory conditions to limit outdoor activities, wear protective masks, and avoid physical exercise until the dust clouds dissipate.

These precautions aim to mitigate health risks associated with the dust storm's presence and ensure the safety of residents and visitors in affected areas.

How can I protect myself from poor air quality?

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