Project Description: Human health, defined as the complete state of physical, social, and mental well-being and not merely the absence of illness, disease, or infirmity, is as vital a resource as water, food, or energy. Health underpins the economy of modern societies, providing employment for many in the health-care sector, and is an important driver of economic growth, accounting for a significant portion of the total expenditure as percentage of the gross domestic product in most countries. While a robust health-care system is needed to support a healthy society, broader actions to reduce social risk are vitally important, including efforts to reduce disparities in wealth, employment, equity, education, and housing.
Effects on Humans
Human-health impacts associated with dust aerosols make them an important air quality issue. Populated areas downwind of major transport pathways of desert-dust aerosols are particularly affected (Fig. 3). Desert-dust aerosols impair respiration and, dependent on the region, can carry toxic species and pathogens. Humans exposed to dust aerosols, inhale the particles such that it poses a health threat.
Dust-aerosol effects on radiation further degrade the visibility in the atmosphere. Especially large dust-aerosol burden can therefore impair ground and air traffic. Moreover, dust aerosols affect the production of energy from solar power. Dust aerosol does so by reducing the downward solar radiation and by deposition of dust particles on the solar panels.
Project Theme: Strengthen the Health Infrastructure