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SAND AND DUST STORMS AND THEIR IMPACT



  Apr 16, 2024

SAND AND DUST STORMS AND THEIR IMPACT



Q: What causes sand and dust storms?

A: Sand and dust storms are caused by strong and turbulent winds lifting small particles from the Earth's surface to great heights. About 75% of these emissions come from natural sources such as hyper-arid regions and dry ancient lake beds, while the remaining 25% are attributed to human activities like agriculture, land-use change, deforestation, and water diversion.

Q: What are the impacts of sand and dust storms?

A: Sand and dust storms have negative effects on human health, the environment, and economies. They can worsen respiratory illnesses, damage crops, reduce visibility for transportation, and lead to the degradation of land and water resources.

Q: How do sand and dust storms relate to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?

A: These storms present challenges to achieving 11 of the 17 SDGs by impacting agriculture, health, clean water, climate action, and life on land, among others. They hinder efforts to eradicate poverty, ensure food security, and promote sustainable land management and water use.

Q: What role does climate change play in sand and dust storms?

A: Climate change exacerbates the frequency and intensity of sand and dust storms through extreme wind events, increased aridity, and more severe droughts. Changes in weather patterns due to climate change can amplify the conditions that lead to these storms.

Q: What can be done to mitigate the impacts of sand and dust storms?

A: The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recommends establishing risk monitoring and early warning systems, strengthening risk governance, increasing investment in risk reduction and impact mitigation measures in agriculture, developing national capacities, and raising awareness about sand and dust storms.

Q: Why is agriculture a significant anthropogenic source of sand and dust storms?

A: Agriculture contributes to sand and dust storms through practices that lead to land degradation, such as the excessive use of water which can shrink water bodies and create new sources for these storms. Abandoned croplands can also become sources when they lose their vegetative cover.

Q: What is the significance of the Aral Sea in the context of sand and dust storms?

A: The shrinkage of the Aral Sea, primarily due to the excessive diversion of water for agriculture, has created the Aralkum Desert, a significant new source of sand and dust storms. This transformation highlights the impact of human activities on natural landscapes and the emergence of new sources for these storms.

Q: Are there policies in place to address the risks posed by sand and dust storms?

A: As of the report by the FAO, there is no comprehensive policy specifically addressing the risks posed by sand and dust storms. The report calls for the development of policies and measures to monitor risks, issue early warnings, and mitigate impacts, particularly in the agriculture sector.



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