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Fossil fuels make up 90% of Middle East air pollution: study

Iraq's northern city of Mosul
— Paris (AFP)

More than 90 percent of harmful air pollution in the Middle East and parts of North Africa comes from fossil fuels, according to research Thursday that showed the region "permanently exceeded" dangerous air quality levels.

The World Health Organization this year said the MENA region had some of the poorest air quality on Earth.

The long-standing assumption was that the smog choking most of the region's cities was primarily composed of desert sand, given their location on the world's "dust belt" where there are frequently more than 20 major sand storms each year.

In 2017, an international team of researchers set off on an epic voyage across the eastern Mediterranean, through the Suez Canal and around the Gulf, using specialised equipment to analyse air quality and particulate matter on shore.

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