Alert over “dust and air particles” travelling over Portugal and Madeira from North Africa

With the skies throughout the country already marked by smoke carried on the wind from the wildfires raging in the north and centre, Portugal’s environment agency is warning of a new peril.

A mass of air that has formed over the deserts of North Africa, picking up “particles and dust” is on its way and is likely to stick around, at worst affecting air quality and bringing with it the risk of respiratory problems in the most vulnerable, until Friday.

The air-mass – created through what is termed “a persistent anticyclone south east of the British Isles and a depression over North Africa that extends towards the Iberian Peninsula” – is most likely to affect the Algarve, Alentejo, Lisbon and Tejo valley, warns APA.

Lisbon is already struggling under a ‘cloud’ of haze prompted by the fires up north, and various media have reported locals already complaining of respiratory problems.

The particles in this weather phenomenon threaten to push PM10 levels up to 40 mgm-3, says APA, adding that if this type of dust “enters the respiratory system”, the risks of diseases – including lung cancer, and cardiovascular problems – increase.

[email protected]