Seminar on Pollution and Air Quality in Beirut

“One session of Arguileh is equivalent to 2 packs of cigarette in terms of toxicity to the body of the primary smoker and four cigarettes for people sitting in the area.”  This shocking impact of smoking the water pipe, or Arguileh, is one of the factors influencing air quality and pollution in Beirut.

Professor Najat Saliba, Director of the Nature Conservation Center and Professor of Chemistry at AUB, discussed these cultural implications of pollution in an event hosted by the Department of Natural Sciences on December 11, 2014.  

The seminar addressed concerns resulting from the absence of governmental or economic resources to enforce air quality standard regulations. The speaker highlighted the fact that we are struggling to find clean air to breathe at home, in traffic, and in recreational outlets such as cafes and restaurants. 

Professor Saliba’s studies look into individual exposures of NO2, Particulate Matter (PM) and some major toxins emitted from vehicles, diesel generators and water pipe smoke. She also asked attendees to focus on their personal interaction with these toxins. To what extent are they exposed to carcinogenic materials on a daily basis?

She also sought to raise awareness regarding the measures people can take to protect themselves and combat air pollution. 

Professor Saliba received her Bachelor of Science degree from the Lebanese University followed by a masters degree from California State University, Long Beach. Then she earned her Ph.D. from the University of Southern California. Her main research is related to environmental issues relevant to Lebanese and the regional culture.