The problem addressed by AIRUSE concerns the deterioration of air quality due to ambient air particulate matter (PM).
In South Europe the combination of high and diverse emission sources, the dense urban architectures and the specific climatology (strong solar radiation causing high photochemical rates, mild winds and scarce precipitation) significantly increase PM pollution. Thus, the causes of PM pollution in urban and industrial areas of Southern Europe might differ from those reported in Central European cities. Most of the cost effective strategies and measures devised and implemented in the central regions are directly applicable to the southern ones; however, taking into account the above peculiarities, specific measures should also be implemented in action plans to abate ambient air concentrations of PM in Southern European regions.
The first goal of the AIRUSE-LIFE+ project is to harmonize source apportionment methods and to prioritize the sources for evolving cost-effective air pollution mitigation strategies.
The second goal is to assess the impact of sources on ambient air quality under different mitigation measures.
The overall objective is to develop, demonstrate and adapt measures that considered appropriate and cost effective to ensure better air quality in urban areas.
Specific objectives include:
- Quantifying the source contribution of the emission sources to ambient PM levels and identifying those that are responsible for the PM limit values exceedances.
- Quantitatively evaluating the effect of air quality mitigation measures already used and that will be used by national authorities.
- Developing and propose effective air mitigation measures for South European countries.
- Allowing the adaptation of control strategies capable of reducing exposure levels in South European countries.
- Assisting National and Regional authorities to implement the “Thematic strategy on Air Pollution” and formulating air quality action plans in the framework of Directive 2008/50/EC.
- Supporting effective policy making by the use of a communication strategy plan.
- Acting as a catalyst for the allocation of local, national funds to the implementation of air mitigation strategies.
The project proposed and demonstrated to Regional and National policymakers appropriate and cost effective measures that ensure better air quality in urban areas. The project evaluated the effectiveness of mitigation measures.
Main mitigation measures included:
- Street washing and the use of dust suppressants to mitigate the resuspension of road dust and/or diffuse emissions
- Adaptation of prior measures to abate resuspension after intensive African dust outbreaks
- The use of technologies such as catalyst converters and filters in biomass burning systems to reduce biomass burning emissions
- Adaptation of mitigation strategies used in other European countries to the complex scenario of South Europe, e.g: Low Emission Zones, limit the growth of diesel cars, incorporate electric, hybrid, gas vehicles, selection procedure of eco-efficient vehicles.
The results were communicated to the citizens and to the stakeholders.
AIRUSE results and environmental benefits:
- Determine the source contribution of the emission sources and identify those that are responsible for exceedances of the the PM limit values and WHO guidelines.
- Quantitatively evaluate the effect of air quality mitigation measures already used and will be used by national authorities
- Develop and propose effective air mitigation measures for South European countries
- Allow the adaptation of control strategies capable of reducing exposure levels in South European countries
The expected longer term results of the project include:
- The implementation of the “Thematic strategy on Air Pollution” by the National and Regional authorities
- Formulation of air quality action plans in the framework of Directive 2008/50/EC
- Effective policy making by the use of a communication strategy plan.
- The allocation of local, national funds to the implementation of air mitigation strategies
- Replicability of the project results to other regions, countries (Paris, Turin, Roma, Brasil)
The project expects to achieve a reduction of PM10 and PM2.5 levels, by applying effective air mitigation strategies appropriate for Southern Europe. The developed mitigation strategies they could also be adapted by other regions in Europe that cannot meet the EU limit values concerning PM concentration levels.