An international study funded by the European Investment Bank (EIB), will focus to investigate the cause of the choking air pollution in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, said to be the highest in the world, reports said.
The EU financial institution which will carry out the study, has been awarded a sum of $79.000 to stand on the major causes behind the phenomenon, which has been blamed on Nile Delta farmers burning rice straw in the fields north of the city, said The Middle East.
An official statement released by EIB said that “disposal of agricultural waste is of particular importance for Cairo, and the study will focus on ways to reduce rice-straw burning."
The cause of the black cloud, however, is under debate.
Some of the Egyptian ministers, including environment minister Nadia Makram-Ebeid, believe that the actual cause may be from pottery and metal burning factories, said the monthly, adding that the Egyptian government has come under pressure to address the city's air pollution, which ranks among the worst in the world.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that the air pollution in downtown Cairo is 10 to 100 times above the level considered safe.
Fumes from the 1.2 million automobiles, pollution form industrial sites and sand blown in from the Western Desert ensure that there is a permanent brownish haze over the city.
According to The Middle East, a US Energy Information Administration has reported Cairo’s pollution on May 2000 as it was considered to be “perhaps the highest in the world.”
The US agency estimates that air pollution in Cairo causes between 10,000 to 25,000 additional deaths per year, said the paper, due to the high "level of suspended particulate matter and lead pollution in the capital.”
The EIB, based in Luxembourg, is the European Union's lending institution and has a mandate to fund projects in countries that share the Mediterranean shoreline – Albawaba.com
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