An Exploratory Study of the Air Quality in Selected Areas of Abu Dhabi

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Harvey Mudd College
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IntroductionThe quality of air is one of the main factors to consider in any region. Having good air quality is key to the survival of people. This study seeks to explain the air quality in Abu Dhabi an area within the United Arab Emirates. This research is stimulated by the previous World Bank report that highlighted Abu Dhabi as one of the regions with poor air quality (Abu Dhabi, 2015). From the report, Abu Dhabi was found to contain high levels of Particulate matter (PM2.5). The poor air quality is contributed to by climatic conditions and pollution from industries. The study seeks to help find ways of solving the poor air quality for the benefit of the residents of Abu Dhabi. Presented in this proposal are the Objectives, literature review and methodology of the study.


When determining the quality of air in the region, it is essential to find reliable means of measurement to enable collection of accurate data. The data collected helps in determining the measures to be taken to enhance the quality of air in the region. The following research question can thus be formulated: Is the quality of air within the selected areas of Abu Dhabi within acceptable levels? Three research objectives will be used to explain the expected outcome.

The first objective is to explain the meteorological conditions in Abu Dhabi during the year 2013-2017 (Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority, 2017). It is essential to understand that climatic conditions also contribute to poor air quality. Abu Dhabi is a region characterized by high temperatures and dust storms. There is thus high humidity and a lot of dust particles in the air (World Health Organization 2010). Such factors should however not be excused as there are ways of improving climatic conditions such as planting of trees.

The second objective is assessing the impact of meteorological conditions on dust level in different areas of Abu Dhabi. Sandstorms are a frequent phenomenon in the region. During windy times, the amount of dust in the atmosphere greatly increases (Vallero, 2008). A rise in the PM10 is thus recorded during such days. Educating people on the need to stay indoors during such stormy days is important to reduce the effects of the dust.

The third objective seeks to identify possible human activities in different areas in Abu Dhabi. There are human activities such as the burning of coal that lead to poor air quality. Finding ways of limiting the extent of these activities can improve air quality (Vallero, 2008). Measures such as legislation to curb some pollutants will be reviewed.

Literature Review

Review of previous publications on air quality is important for this research. It will give a clear understanding on acceptable levels of particle matter in the atmosphere. According to the world health organization (2010), the leading causes of air pollution are emissions from industries. These cause a blanket of air to rise above the atmosphere thus increasing the levels of PM (World Health Organization, 2005). Most of the pollutants consist of gases such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides (NOx) and Sulphur oxides (SOx)

The high number of vehicles found in Abu Dhabi are some of the factors that have led to poor air quality. Actions have been taken by the government to ensure that there are no emissions from these vehicles thus they are well serviced. Those who fail to comply with the set laws are liable to huge fines, (Abu Dhabi, 2015).

Economic activities within Abu Dhabi such as mining have also increased the amount of air pollution. There is need to find ways of controlling such activities for the benefits of the residents. Poor air quality is associated with respiratory problems (Vallero, 2008). Relevant sources will be used to identify the number of respiratory conditions reported by children and adults in the region. The mortality rate of infants due to respiratory conditions caused by air pollution will also be analyzed.


The study will explore the quality of air in Abu Dhabi. The available air quality monitor stations in this area will be identified by conducting a survey. From the stations recognized, random selection will be made to choose locations that will be used for monitoring (Air Quality Monitoring System, 2017). There will be an equal presentation of stations from different parts of the region to ensure that reliable results are collected.

Data of the monitoring stations will then be collected from the Environmental Agency- Abu Dhabi (EAD). The information will then be used to formulate the air quality index (Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority, 2017). The index will highlight the levels of pollution and air quality from the different regions of Abu Dhabi. During data collection, suitable statistical packages will be used to improve the accuracy of results obtained.

Results obtained from this research will then be compared to international set standards on acceptable levels of air pollution. The information will also be provided to the national agency to get their perspective from their national standards. The study will undoubtedly outline what air quality is, the rules of measure and ways of improving it.


Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry 2014, Toxic substances portal: sulfate oxide, viewed 18 September 2017.

Air Quality Monitoring System 2017, Environment Agency Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Environment Agency Abu Dhabi 2015, Air quality quarterly report.

Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority 2017, Statistics by subject.

Vallero, DA 2008, Fundamentals of air pollution, 4th edition, Elsevier, London, UK.

World Health Organization 2005, Air Quality Guidelines for Particulate Matter, Ozone and Nitrogen dioxide and Sulphur dioxide, Global Update.

World Health Organization 2010, WHO guidelines for indoor air quality: selected pollutants, viewed 18 September 2017.

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