Cairo - Post Report Question and Answers

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?

Air quality is terrible in the winter and subpar in the summer. - Mar 2023

Bad. The heavy-duty air filters at Post help a lot to maintain cleaner air in our residences. - Aug 2022

Pollution is a problem in the winter. It can get VERY bad. But it's a mixed bag - some days it's beautiful and the next day atrocious. We've found going to the beach outside of Cairo on the weekends to be a good way to escape it, and we have a ton of air filters blasting in our house. The air in the house has been fine as a result. - Aug 2022

Yes. The pollution is quite bad, particularly from December - February. There are also sand storms. We plan our outdoor time according to the air quality. Those who are sensitive or have existing respiratory conditions will struggle here. - Mar 2022

Air quality is bad year around and worse in winter. The embassy provides air filters. - Dec 2021

Air quality is very bad, especially in winter. Looks like fog, but you just choke on it. If you have lung problems, bring your inhalers. The embassy provides air cleaners. - Feb 2021

It's bad overall, and worse in the winter. People react to it differently, but it's suffice to say that the air quality is poor and is unlikely to improve. - Nov 2020

Air quality can vary greatly. During the summer it can be clear and nice (but AQI will always suck) and in winter when the trash burning starts, it will go downhill quickly. Overall, it's not great - Jan 2020

AIR QUALITY. It's some of the worst in the world. We had months this winter when it was worse than Delhi and Beijing. The Embassy provides completely inadequate air purifiers for homes. We bought expensive Blue Air purifiers on our own and run them constantly. Our kid has had a cough for 6 months. It never goes away and her chest just rattles with it. I don't know how someone who has asthma could live here. - Jun 2018

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 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 2017

The air quality is very poor; even with air purifiers at home, people had a lot of respiratory problems. - May 2017

Not good due to the traffic. I live "up town" on the hill (Mokattam) for that reason. - May 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 2016

Very dusty - Jan 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 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 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 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 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 2014

Abysmal: car exhaust, burning trash, generally awful air pollution. - Apr 2014

Very poor; even if you are not asthmatic, it will affect your breathing! - Mar 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 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 2013

Extremely unhealthy. Lot of car emissions, they are always burning things, and LOTS of second-hand smoke. - Jun 2013

Cairo is extremely dirty and polluted. Mild spring sand storms can make the air quite bad. - Jun 2013

Air quality ranges from moderate to unhealthy. - May 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 2013

Awful, most of the year. I was really sick during my first year, but then I adjusted. - May 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 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 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 2013

Poor. Our daughter now has asthma. - Mar 2013

Very unhealthy. They burn everything here. But when they burn crops, you do get a nice popcorn smell everywhere. - Feb 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 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 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 2011

Usually smoggy with find sand. You do a lot of coughing in Egypt - Aug 2011

Unhealthy. Cairo air is very smoggy and polluted. People with asthma and respiratory conditions may experience increased symptoms. - Aug 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 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 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 2010

The air is horrible and unhealthy. There are millions of cars and everyone smokes. - Jun 2010

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