CAIRO: The Minister of Environment has announced it is on high alert to combat the open-air burning of agricultural leftovers, especially amid a wave of bad weather hitting the country.
Egypt is expecting a windy weather accompanied with heavy rains within the coming 72 hours, according to the Meteorological Authority. At the meantime, fears raised of expected uncontrolled farm fires as farmers are currently burning the remaining of their crop harvest.
As a result of the burning, thick, dark clouds accumulate in the sky forming the recurring phenomenon called the “Black Clouds,” which has a huge negative impact on the quality of the air.
Despite the ministry’s warnings, the farmers continue to burn the agricultural waste, especially rice straw, as burning is “less in cost” and due to “lack of modern post-harvest equipment,” according to previous interviews conducted by The Cairo Post.
For its part, the Environment ministry has warned against the practice of open-air burning amid expected fast winds during the coming days, which could lead to a potential uncontrolled “crisis” of fire expand.
Penalties have been imposed on violating farmers who are spotted by satellite. A total of 8235 reports have been filed against violations of open-air burning since September, according to Youm7.
The ministry has announced collecting 137,000 tons of rice straw in governorates thus far, to prevent burning them. While 65 percent of the collected rice straw were pressed to be converted to fertilizers.
The process of burning rice straw and agricultural wastes also contributes to the problem of climate change, due to the emission of large amounts of carbon dioxide,” spokesperson for the Egyptian Meteorological Authority, Waheed Seoudy told The Cairo Post.
The smoky weather witnessed during the black clouds phenomenon, which exists in Egypt every fall since 1999, is believed to have “health repercussions,” as chest disease physicians have warned that patients with respiratory problems are the persons most affected by such highly polluted air.