Subj: Black Cloud Returns to Cairo Skies
Date: 11/22/99 7:41:24 AM Pacific Standard Time
From: (New Millennium)
To: (Newmill)

11/22/1999 09:51:00 ET

Dense smog chokes Cairo again

CAIRO (Reuters) - Dense smog engulfed Cairo for the second day in a row
on Monday to the distress of the 16 million residents of one of the
world's most polluted cities.

Vehicle exhaust fumes, smouldering rubbish and industrial emissions all
contribute to air pollution in Cairo.

"Black cloud returns to Cairo skies," said the headline in state-owned
al-Akhbar daily, referring to the acrid smog that choked the capital for
several weeks in October and November.

Magdi Allam, an Environment Ministry spokesman, confirmed there had been
an increase in dust particles, smoke and gases in the air over Cairo in
the last two days -- in some places double or three times amounts
allowed under international regulations.

"The city is completely covered in grey smog," said Nathalie Stragalis,
a resident of fashionable Zamalek. "My eyes are itchy, my throat is dry
and the air has a peculiar smell."

Many people have complained of sore throats, flu-like symptoms and acute

"There is no doubt that the increased presence of smog in the air has
increased respiratory problems in normal, healthy people," said Antoun
Sayegh, a physician in downtown Cairo.

"The smog inflames the eyes, throat and chest and could lead to
bronchitis. It facilitates the spread of viruses and lessens immunity.
It exacerbates the condition of people with allergies or asthma and
increases the symptoms of common colds."

To tackle the problem, Allam said the Environment Ministry had launched
an emergency programme costing 70 million pounds ($20 million) to
dispose of around 950,000 cubic metres of rubbish in Cairo and 140,000
cubic metres in nearby Giza.

He said State Minister for Environmental Affairs Nadia Makram Obeid
convened an emergency meeting on Sunday with representatives of 27 of
Egypt's largest factories to speed up implementation of programmes to
reduce industrial waste.

Al-Akhbar quoted a ministry official as attributing the smog to
southeasterly winds carrying smoke from burning rubbish tips and
emissions from cement, iron and steel plants in the Helwan district just
south of the city.

In October, Obeid ordered the closure of 25 factories in Cairo which
burn tyres for fuel.

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