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City Lungs


There is a long list of possible consequences and environmental effects that can be attributed to air pollution including severe weather events like heat waves, floods, and droughts or even indirect effects like food and water shortages which puts a stress on the ecosystem and the supply side of the equation being agricultural activities. To a city like Riyadh, these scenarios are not very unlikely. Riyadh falls in a middle of Arabian Peninsula, occupied by the largest desert area in the continent and the second largest on Earth. According to the Environmental Performance Index (EPI), Saudi Arabia’s both rank and score in air quality category are gradually going down since 2002, and the decrease has become even more significant in 2016 report.

Being in a middle of such gigantic desert present a struggle in meeting the sustainability conditions, which makes the air quality at this region bad by its nature.

In this project, we investigate the increasing trend of atmospheric particles that can be associated with dust storm activity. In addition to the contribution of growing population and the consequent increasing demand on electricity, number of vehicles on the road (in the absence of public transportation), and the increase in industrial activity to meet the needs of 6 million people. These small pieces add together in an elegant yet exhausting way to maintain a decent living conditions.


My Contributions

Project Coordinator

  • Assessed Riyadh’s air quality and compared findings with a recent WHO report regarding the level of pollution in the city. 

  • Identified the “hot spots” in the city based on the 24-mean of PM2.5.

  • Traced the sources of pollution by visualizing the spatial and temporal distribution of different pollutants. 



Project Team Members


Principal Investigators

Adnan Alsaati

Anas Alfaris


Salma Aldawood, Aljohara Alfayez, Rawan Aloula

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