Sand and dust storms are a global environmental problem that affects the health and livelihoods of millions of people across the world. These storms, which have increased in frequency, intensity and geographical range in recent decades, have an immense impact on the global economy, forcing airports and schools to close, interrupting supply chains, destroying crops and overwhelming hospitals. Fine particles of dust can travel thousands of miles on the back of these storms, which may also carry pathogen sand harmful substances, causing acute and chronic respiratory problems.

Dust storms also increase desertification,drought and soil salinity while reducing water supplies and impeding renewable energy sources. Dust storms can also be triggered and exacerbated by climate change, drought, land degradation and un-sustainable management of land and water resources.