Home Sciences Air quality in Spain improved in 2021 despite recovering mobility

Air quality in Spain improved in 2021 despite recovering mobility

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The Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge (MITECO) has published on its website the 2021 Air Quality assessment report. During the past year, the results registered in the year 2020 were maintained in terms of the number of territories that registered exceedances of nitrogen dioxide (NOtwo) and PM2.5 particulate matter and an improvement was seen for ozone (O3).

These data reflect a slight improvement in terms of the information collected in 2019, despite the fact that mobility was recovered after the pandemic. Regarding the magnitude of the exceedances, the annual limit value of NO is exceededtwo in the city of Madrid, the daily and annual PM10 limit values ​​are exceeded in the Avilés area (Asturias) Y, with respect to O3the target value for health protection is exceeded in 18 areas.

The objective of the analysis is to give a global vision of air quality and describe how its evaluation and management are carried out. Also, the report includes a climatological summary of the year and a summary of the Saharan dust intrusion episodeswith data prepared by the State Meteorological Agency (AEMET).

This document, which will be notified to the European Commission before September 30 of this year, details the situation of each of the air quality zones with respect to the legislated values.

In this edition, the situation of air quality is updated with respect to the guide values ​​of the World Health Organization (WHO), to adapt it to the readjustment published in September 2021 by this Organization of new global air quality guidelines.

Exceptional situation on the island of La Palma

The conclusions of the analysis carried out show that the WHO guideline value for carbon monoxide (CO) is not exceeded in any area air quality, SOtwo only 3%, while the NOtwo annual and daily is exceeded by 62%.

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The annual PM10 value is exceeded in more than 75% of the areas and the daily PM10 and PM2.5 more than 85%, all before Saharan dust discounts. The guideline values ​​of O3 are exceeded in practically all areas.

As in previous editions, a specific chapter on the impact of air quality on health. It collects the effects of different pollutants on health and echoes the relationship between air quality and covid-19.

Additionally, the report contains a summary of the exceptional situation in terms of air quality during the eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano on the island of La Palma in fall 2021.

In addition, a brief section on the regional background air quality of the EMEP/VAG/CAMP network, organizations dedicated to observing the chemical composition of the atmosphere on a rural scale, is included.

Regarding the number of zones that register exceedances of nitrogen dioxide (NOtwo) it is necessary to distinguish between two values: the hourly limit value and the annual limit value. Regarding the hourly limit value, the improvement experienced in 2020 is maintained, the year in which this figure was not exceeded in any air quality area for the first time since 2004. As regards the annual limit, a single exceedance was recorded, the same as in 2020, in the urban agglomeration of Madrid.

elevated ozone levels

On the other hand, for suspended particles (PM10), the report includes a single exceedance of both the daily limit value and the annual limit value, both at the Matadero station, located in the Asturian town of Aviles.

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For particles smaller than 2.5 microns (PM2.5), the limit value has still not been exceeded, not even before discounts on contributions from natural sources. As for sulfur dioxide (SOtwo), there has been no exceedance of the legislated values.

In relation to tropospheric ozone (O3), in 2021 high levels were recorded due to the high insolation and the emission levels of its precursors (mainly NOx and volatile organic compounds). There is a decrease in the number of areas where both the target value for health protection (from 28 in 2020 to 18 in 2021) and the target value for vegetation protection (from 45 in 2020 to 37 in 2021) are exceeded. 2021), therefore, it follows the downward trend indicated in 2020.

For him lead (Pb), benzene (C6H6) Y carbon monoxide (CO), the situation remains below the limit values. Also the improvement experienced since 2016 is maintained with regard to arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd) and nickel (Ni)since in 2021 the exceedances of the target values ​​registered in 2012 and 2014 for nickel, or 2015 for cadmium, have not been repeated.

In the case of benzo(a)pyrene (B(a)P), the provisional results show a improvement since 2016 and the exceedance registered in 2013 would not be repeated, although at the date of publication of this report the results of the evaluation of two air quality zones are not available.

Reference report: https://www.miteco.gob.es/es/calidad-y-evaluacion-ambiental/temas/atmosfera-y-calidad-del-aire/informeevaluacioncalidadaireespana2021_tcm30-543132.pdf

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