Monday, July 15, 2013

How Will the EU Improve Air Quality Management at the Local Level?

Air Implementation Pilot - Lessons learnt from the implementation of air quality legislation at urban level(76 page pdf, European Environment Agency, Jun. 5, 2013)
Today we review a report that examined the findings and recommendations of a detailed look at how air quality is managed in 12 European cities, ranging from how data are monitored and put into inventories, to how they are used in models to how information is communicated to the public. Recommendations called for steps to make inventories more compatible, more training in modeling, more stringent siting of monitoring stations often near traffic and greater use of social network media to disseminate warnings and advisories and perhaps, one day, even putting all the air quality directives for Europe in one strategy document.

vienna no2
Key Quotes :

“describes a European pilot project to help identify and address the reasons underlying this 'gap' in implementation of air quality policy in 12 European cities, and thereby draw lessons of wider relevance.”

“Although urban and suburban areas cover around 20 % of the surface area of the European Union, they are home to around 75 % of the European population.. ..potentially exposed to air pollutant levels exceeding the EU standards in the period 2001–2011 has been: between 18 %..and 40.6 % …for the PM10 daily limit value”
“Eight cities originally took part in the pilot: Berlin, Dublin, Madrid, Malmö, Milan, Ploiesti, Prague, and Vienna. Four more cities subsequently joined at the end of 2012: Antwerp, Paris, Plovdiv, and Vilnius.“

“Lessons learned:
  • emission inventories often not comparable with one another, or with the emission inventories of the regions within which they are located…better input data and more guidance are needed on inventory methodology.
  • air quality modeling .. often the shortcomings of these inventories carry over to the modelling activities… greater training in modelling was needed, along with improved input data (including meteorological data, background concentrations, and the specificities of each city's topography).
  • monitoring networks… more detailed requirements for measuring stations…would stipulate the macro-siting (where the stations are located with respect to major pollution sources) and micro-siting (where the stations are sited with respect to their immediate surroundings…, as well as the representativeness of the stations…
  • management practices…. more than the 50 % of the implemented measures are traffic related…. improvement of inventories and modeling tools, for instance, would better enable cities to assess which of their measures were most effective in improving air quality...
  • information to the public…. the cities underuse mass media, social media websites, and new technologies like smartphone applications. Most of the participating cities lacked feedback on the interest of their citizens in air quality issues…”
“One possibility that has been discussed is to package all the European measures related to urban air quality in a single programme, which would then be one of the accompanying documents to a revised Thematic Strategy on Air Pollution.”
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