Rising dust storms a health problem, even continents away; infant mortality worst in drylands: Report
Growing desertification worldwide threatens to swell by millions the number of poor forced to seek new homes and livelihoods. And a rising number of large, intense dust storms plaguing many areas menace the health of people even continents away, international experts warn in a new report.
Thick storms rising out of the Gobi Desert affect much of China, Korea and Japan and even reduce air quality over North America, according to Ecosystems and Human Well-Being: Desertification Synthesis. The report is based on information generated for the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA), a $22 million, four-year global study by 1,300 experts from 95 countries. "An increase in desertification-related dust storms is widely considered to be a cause of ill-health (fever, coughing, sore eyes) during the dry season," says the report. "Dust emanating from (the Gobi desert) and the Sahara has also been implicated in respiratory problems as far away as North America and has affected coral reefs in the Caribbean."
Terry Collins | EurekAlert!
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