On Clean Air Day 2021, Airly.com reported that air pollution levels in some of the top cities in Europe are at unprecedented levels. Alarmingly, five out of the top 20 cities with the highest levels of nitrogen dioxide in the air are in the United Kingdom. Close to half of the cities with dense particulate matter are located in Spain.
Every month Airly.com ranks cities based on pollution levels measured by particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide. Airly is a platform that uses sensors to determine accurate, predictive, and localized data to provide governments with the information needed to tackle pollution. The platform functions as an accurate warning system for pollution in real-time at minimal cost for businesses and cities.
Particulate Matter Analysis (PM10)
Also known as particle pollution, PM10 consists of a mix of liquid and solid droplets in the air. In April 2021, cities in Europe recorded exceptionally high results, such as Milan in Italy at 42.8. High concentrations of PM10 were also noted in Naples in Italy and in the Spanish cities of Sevilla, Gijon, and Oviedo. Conversely, PM10 concentrations dropped in other Polish cities. Tychy in Poland recorded the highest levels with an average of 16.82.
Nitrogen Dioxide Analysis (NO2)
Produced during fuel combustion, NO2 damages immune system cells in the lungs, causing vulnerability to infections in the respiratory tract. It is particularly harmful to people with asthma. The highest concentration of this pollutant (17.53) was found in Cluj-Napoca in Romania at 17.53. Newcastle Upon Tyne in the United Kingdom came in close at 17.05. The Italian cities Naples and Giugliano in Campania also ranked high.
Dangerous Levels of Pollution Revealed
A dangerous annual level for PM10 and NO2 is 20. Four European cities surpassed the norm for PM10. Although none of the cities exceeded the standard for NO2, it came dangerously close to levels threatening to health.
The Europe Environment Agency (EEA) reported that air pollution is the most significant environmental health risk in the European Union. According to the EEA, over 350,000 premature deaths occurred due to exposure to PM10 in 2018 and over 50,000 due to NO2 exposure. The main culprits for these deaths are car traffic, heavy industry, and power plants.
Call to Action
Co-founder and CEO of Airly, Wiktor Warchalowski, commented that most governments worldwide are not sharing real-time air quality. The company’s goal is to use Clean Air Day to create awareness of the situation so that governments, businesses, and individuals can tackle the problem.
People must change their habits and lifestyle choices, especially when using cars. Choosing cycling, carsharing, or electric scooters will make an impact on air quality and the environment. Local authorities have to monitor the problem and implement policies that will manage hotspots by reducing road traffic in busy areas with high pollution concentrations.
With AI-driven algorithms that predict daily pollution with up to 95% accuracy, Airly provides actionable data about air quality. It is up to local authorities and individuals to use these insights to help improve environmental conditions.