The research team made the discovery in 2017, when they noticed that levels of ethane and propane in the air above the Red Sea were up to 40 times higher than predicted, says the Times.

However, they have only now discovered what is causing the high pollution levels.

Ethane and propane gases buried in reservoirs under the sea are rising up and leaking into the atmosphere, Singapore-based The Straits Times reports.

The gases come from deposits in the Gulf of Suez and Aquaba, which “mix with emissions from industrial shipping and turn into noxious pollutants that are very harmful to human health”, the paper adds.]