The air quality in certain parts of the country is low enough to cause serious health problems, the Maldives Meteorological Service has said.

The agency said the air pollution levels deterioriated in parts of the north and central regions due to the easterly winds. Visibility has dropped to five kilometres within the past 24 hours from 10 kilometres on clear days, the office said.

According to pollution tracking applications, regions in the country show levels of air pollution that will adversely affect the heart and lungs while being extremely dangerous to patients with lung and heart complications. The air quality in Kaafu Atoll, Shaviyani Atoll and Lhaviyani Atoll yesterday was dangerously low.

The air quality in the Maldives typically reaches its lowest levels between December and March each year, primarily due to the presence of smoke and dust.

Authorities advise infants, children, the elderly, pregnant women, and individuals with lung diseases, heart conditions, or allergies to exercise extra caution when going outside during this period.

Air pollution is the single largest environmental health risk around the globe and a major cause of premature death and disease.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are links between exposure to air pollution and the development of type 2 diabetes, obesity, systemic inflammation, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia.

Both short-term and long-term air pollution may result in inflammation, oxidative stress, weakened immune response, and genetic alterations in cells throughout the body. This affects various organs, such as the lungs, heart, and brain, eventually causing diseases.