Subscribe to SmallPlanet

We Need Your Help

Five stars on Amazon! Don't miss Talesmag's first book of essays, on cross-cultural food experiences from Mexico to Mongolia (plus recipes!)
Submit a Real Post Report


What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

In the spring, summer and fall air quality is moderate to fairly good. In the winter it is moderate to bad. On the PM2.5 scale, it can hit over 300 in the early morning in the winter but most days it drops to below 100 by afternoon. There are some days, especially when the air is still, that the air stays bad all day and there is a haze of dust and pollution. In the winter expect regular coughing. - Jan 3, 2018
The air quality varies by season. The spring, summer, fall had fairly good air quality. Air quality in the winter is abysmal. Sometimes you can taste the air due to it being filled with spoke from burning garbage and pollution. It is common in the winter to not be able to see across the Nile or the tops of buildings, due to smog, pollution, smoke, etc. Many people had respiratory issues during the winter. - Sep 9, 2017
The air quality is very poor; even with air purifiers at home, people had a lot of respiratory problems. - May 25, 2017
Not good due to the traffic. I live "up town" on the hill (Mokattam) for that reason. - May 16, 2017
On the worst days, my lips would taste like dirt after I had been outside for a while. Most people get a cough for two months or so the first winter they are there. However, you sort of get used to it, and many days are not that bad at all, with bright blue skies. There are two months in the spring (usually March and April) when there are dust storms and it is sometimes very hazy. For me, it was an acceptable tradeoff to have sunny weather. We had some air filters in our apartment but rarely felt the need to use them. - Jan 30, 2016
Very dusty - Jan 29, 2016
Very poor in the winter when people burn rice husks. Otherwise, dusty and some pollution- what you would expect with 20+ million people. It rarely rains so everything is dusty and in need of a good bath. - Jan 29, 2016
Moderate. There have been a couple of times during the year that I have had to close my balcony doors because people were burning something nearby but otherwise it's OK. Great evenings to sit on the balcony. - Oct 8, 2014
Unhealthy from exhaust and cigarette smoke. I have heard that breathing the air here is comparable to smoking a pack of cigarettes per day. - Aug 19, 2014
Outside of the city is generally not bad except in the really dry summer months with dust and pollution. And in the winter when lots of ash from stuff being burned. The city has 18 million plus people, so car pollution is bad....some days you can just see the haze... - Aug 19, 2014
Air quality is bad. I checked the WHO site and it's as bad as Beijing, just not in the news for that. - May 28, 2014
Abysmal: car exhaust, burning trash, generally awful air pollution. - Apr 2, 2014
Very poor; even if you are not asthmatic, it will affect your breathing! - Mar 27, 2014
Horrible. Burning trash, ancient cars, everyone smoking. Cairo is an assault on the lungs. If you have asthma or breathing problems, it will not be good. Plenty of people develop asthma here. - Jul 23, 2013
Terrible. We brought four air purifiers with us, and I really noticed the difference once we packed them out. This is a bad post for people with asthma or who are susceptible to sinus infections. If you pick up a cough or respritory infection it will take weeks to get rid of because of the dirt in the air. - Jul 17, 2013
Extremely unhealthy. Lot of car emissions, they are always burning things, and LOTS of second-hand smoke. - Jun 16, 2013
Cairo is extremely dirty and polluted. Mild spring sand storms can make the air quite bad. - Jun 7, 2013
Air quality ranges from moderate to unhealthy. - May 22, 2013
Terrible. Garbage is everywhere, as are dead animals. There are sandstorms in the Spring, and everyone burns crops in the Fall. Kids end up with asthma. CO2 emissions from unregulated vehicles and leaded gas cause daily headaches for much of the staff. - May 12, 2013
Awful, most of the year. I was really sick during my first year, but then I adjusted. - May 12, 2013
Pretty bad - most folks develop the "Cairo cough", and things are worse in the fall (September / October) when the fields outside Cairo are burned. Pollution from vehicles and dust are both significant, but that said, charcoal is not used much here, so that, at least, is not an issue. Outside of Cairo, the air quality is better, particularly up in Alexandria and other parts of the North Coast. - Feb 1, 2013
Awful. Some days the air is so bad you can barely make out the buildings on the other side of the Nile. Respiratory problems are commonplace. I struggle breathing sometimes. - Feb 14, 2013
Unhealthy. It would be wise to invest in some good air purifiers. Also, invest in good sunglasses for the entire family. The sand and polution in the air affects your lungs and eyes. - Mar 31, 2013
Poor. Our daughter now has asthma. - Mar 26, 2013
Very unhealthy. They burn everything here. But when they burn crops, you do get a nice popcorn smell everywhere. - Feb 13, 2013
Extremely unhealthy. Save for China, Egypt is probably the worst country in the world when it comes to air quality. Cairo has about 30 million people, and it seems like all of them drive. The Egyptian government subsidizes fuel, which allows people to buy cheap gas. Therefore, the cars that are on the road are unbelievably poorly maintained, and there is zero environmental concern. It is among the dirtiest places on Earth. Johannesburg, for example, is much much cleaner. Furthermore, the stench of urine is everywhere. - Jan 18, 2013
The air quality is moderate to unhealthy, especially in late Summer/early Fall when they burn all of the trimmings from trees and bushes. And, of course, all year when they burn trash! - Nov 27, 2012
Very unhealthy. Winter is the worst, due to crops being burned. Occasionally we had ash falling from the sky. We used a heavy-duty large air purifier in the living room at all times, and small ones in the bedrooms. Black sooty deposits collected on many things in our well-sealed house, including on curtains and toys. - Sep 20, 2011
Usually smoggy with find sand. You do a lot of coughing in Egypt - Aug 4, 2011
Unhealthy. Cairo air is very smoggy and polluted. People with asthma and respiratory conditions may experience increased symptoms. - Aug 4, 2011
The air quality is terrible. There is a high particulate matter content from teh desert and extreme pollution from traffic and minimally regulated factory output. Bring air filters and keep the windows closed. - Jul 19, 2011
It's very unhealthy but bearable. After awhile you don't notice it. But you can tell it's not good and their is always dust in the air and sand. - Jun 5, 2011
Unhealthy, but livable. This is a bad place for those with upper resperatory problems. However, there is very little pollen, so I didn't experience my annual allergies to grass and tree pollens. - Sep 22, 2010
The air is horrible and unhealthy. There are millions of cars and everyone smokes. - Jun 26, 2010