Pia Bozyel- The United Nations warned against the increasing frequency of sand and dust storms whose effects are being amplified by human activities.
On the occasion of 12 July “International Day of Combatting Sand and Dust Storms”, designated by the UN to raise awareness, the 193 membered body rang the alarm bells.
Referring to reports by UN climate experts, it was stated that “Severe sand and dust storms (SDS) are becoming increasingly common.”
According to the recent data provided by UN Coalition to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), approximately 2 tonnes of sand and dust enter the atmosphere yearly, with the potential to be carried thousands of miles with strong winds.
Especially in vulnerable areas where desertification is common like the Middle East and Africa, the UN warned that “Sand and dust storms threaten the environment, agriculture, human health, and transportation infrastructure.”
The UN also drew attention to the fact that sand and dust particles in the atmosphere have doubled between the years of 1900 and 2000.
Emphasizing the importance of regional and international cooperation to mitigate the effects of dust and sand storms, the UN has published a “toolbox” which provides resources and data to areas most vulnerable to sand and dust storms.