Pollution health risk in Brittany heightened due to Sahara desert

Residents of Brittany and Normandy have been warned that sand particles from the Sahara desert are adding to already high pollution levels in their regions.

Pollution health risk in Brittany heightened due to Sahara desert
In 2017, the sky in Brittany was tinted orange by sands from the Sahara. Photo: AFP

Locals in Brittany have been ordered to reduce their speed when driving at 110 kilometres an hour by 20 kilometres an hour and told that outdoor sporting activities should be avoided by anyone with preexisting health issues.

Three departments of Brittany – Côtes-d’Armor, Ille-et-Vilaine, and Morbihan – were on orange alert for pollution, as was much of the neighbouring Normandy region.

The high levels of fine-particle air pollution are due to emissions from road traffic and  ammonia emissions from the agricultural sector, according to the director of Air Breizh, an independent association that monitors air quality in Brittany.


How much has the EU done to fight pollution in France? Photo: AFP

Sand particles blowing in from the Sahara, on the winds that gave France unseasonably warm weather over the Easter holiday weekend, have added to the health risk.

The desert sands may be visible in some areas as they can leave a fine layer of dust on cars, and sometimes can even make the sky look a little red.

A 2016 study found that air pollution is behind the deaths of 48,000 people in France every year, and argued that most of the deaths are preventable.

French words to know: 

fine-particle air pollution – pollution aux particules fines

maximum speed – la vitesse maximale 

sand particles – particules de sable

 tint the sky orange – teinter le ciel d'une couleur orange






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