Honduras among countries in the world with the lowest air quality

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By Daniel Villatoro García

Honduras is currently the third country in the world with the worst air quality and the situation represents an emergency, with severe respiratory consequences for vulnerable people, experts warned today.

According to expert Wilmer Reyes, the Central American nation is marching behind India and Chad, and pollution is just one step away from the level considered extremely dangerous to health.

The academic regretted that the seriousness of the problem, especially in urban centres such as the capital, was not yet understood and drew attention to the risks to children, older adults and people with respiratory diseases.

He cited the emission of nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, carbon dioxide, as well as forest fires, burning of fossil fuels and vehicle traffic, among the multiple factors contributing to this environmental crisis.

Other voices in the country urged the population to follow medical recommendations, such as the use of masks, to protect their health, as well as increase surveillance and control of air quality in cities such as Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula.

The capital of Honduras has been on high alert since last week for the presence of a dense polluting fog and, according to forecasts, these conditions will persist for at least 10 more days. The previous Friday the phenomenon was aggravated by the strong presence of the very dangerous PM2.5 particles, which maintained between 300 and 500 the air quality index.

Faced with this context, the government recommended the use of masks as a precautionary measure and vulnerable people that avoids unnecessarily going out outside, as a variety of solids and liquids suspended in the air such as organic chemicals, dust, soot and metals were found.

This article has been translated from the original which first appeared in El Pais