The Report of the Ministry for Ecological Transition contains the 2018 results of air quality in Spain that will be notified to the European Commission. It details the situation of the zones with respect to the legislated values ​​of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), suspended particles (PM10) and tropospheric ozone (O3).

The Ministry for Ecological Transition (MITECO) publishes today on its website the Air Quality Assessment Report in Spain corresponding to the 2018 data that, in general terms, shows a slight improvement of all pollutants legislated with respect to the year 2017, although it is less significant in nitrogen dioxide (NO2), particles (PM10) and ozone (O3), very harmful to health and linked, in metropolitan environments, to road traffic.

The air quality assessment report in Spain 2018 presents the results that will be notified to the European Commission before September 30 of this year, detailing the situation of the areas with respect to the legislated values. Its objective is to give a global vision of air quality, in addition to describing how its evaluation and management is carried out. As a novelty, the report includes a climate summary of the year evaluated with the data prepared by the Meteorology Statal Agency (AEMET), and in the specific sections of each control network, the ozone evaluation data for vegetation protection is incorporated.

The 2018 evaluation was carried out for the following pollutants: sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), particles (PM10 and PM2.5), lead (Pb), benzene (C6H6) , carbon monoxide (CO), ozone (O3), arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), nickel (Ni) and benzo (a) pyrene (B (a) P).

In addition, indicative measurements of the concentrations of other polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) other than B (a) P have been carried out. These types of organic compounds, which can be harmful to health, are associated with combustion processes and compounds such as oil, coal or tar.

Also measured – without exceeding target values ​​- total deposits of arsenic, cadmium, mercury, nickel, benzo (a) pyrene and other polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, as well as mercury levels in ambient air and particulate

Slight improvement over 2017

The air quality situation in terms of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) improves slightly compared to 2017, as the number of urban agglomerations that exceed the legislated values ​​decreases.

The regulations distinguish between two types of improvement: hourly limit value (concentration of more than 200 ug / m3 for one hour) and annual limit value (annual average of 40 ug / m3).

Specifically, in 2018, the hourly limit value was only exceeded in the city of Madrid, as in 2017. Last year 33 exceeded this legal limit was reached only at the Elliptical square station, the one with the worst records of NO2 accumulation.

With regard to the annual limit value (VLA), it was exceeded in four zones, three less than the previous year. In 2018, the improvements have been registered in the city of Madrid, Corredor del Henares, Metropolitan area of ​​Barcelona and Granada and its metropolitan area. The average annual concentrations reached in the worst station located within each zone were, respectively, 55, 41, 54 and 46 µg / m3, respectively.

On the other hand, the report also shows a decrease in the number of areas that exceed the daily limit value of suspended particles (PM10): compared to the five zones that exceeded this legal limit in 2017, 2018 it closed with the overcoming in a single point, the town jienense of Villanueva del Arzobispo. The annual limit value assessment data also shows a slight improvement, since in 2018 no area with overcomes is identified compared to the 2017 data, where the legal limit in one area, in Avilés, was exceeded.

Regarding tropospheric ozone (O3), another of the factors that most influence air quality, the report shows that in 2018 high levels continued to be recorded in suburban or rural areas, due in large part to high heat stroke and emission of its precursors (mainly NOx and volatile organic compounds). The situation is very similar to that of previous years, although there is a minimal decrease in the number of areas that exceed the target value for health protection compared to 2017 (from 36 to 35).

In general, the 2019 air pollutant data recorded to date, although they have not yet been validated by the responsible administrations and in the absence of the end of the year, show a deterioration in air quality, especially in the case of NO2.

European Commission letter

In relation to these results, the Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the European Commission, Karmenu Vella, sent a letter to the Minister for the Ecological Transition in operation, Teresa Ribera, on July 9, conveying her concern and requesting A strengthening of the air quality measures, given that the overcoming of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), concentrated mainly in the city of Madrid and the metropolitan area of ​​Barcelona, ​​continue to violate the limits established by European regulations.

In the letter, the commissioner points out that it is necessary to take additional measures to meet the obligations regarding air quality and achieve compliance with the limit values ​​for the year 2020.

The ministry put the content of the letter in the knowledge of the Madrid and Catalan authorities, to which it has offered its cooperation for the implementation of additional measures to those already existing so that Spain meets the community limits on air quality, thus protecting public health and preventing the country from facing a possible fine by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).

All Administrations, within the scope of their powers, are adopting measures so that the levels of air pollution are below the limit values ​​established by the legislation, but must be intensified so that in the shortest possible time citizens can enjoy The best possible air quality.

The improvement of air quality is a priority issue on the agenda of the Government of Spain. Currently, work is being done on the development of an Atmospheric Pollution Control Program that will allow NO2 emission reductions to be achieved, compared to 2005, by at least 41% in 2020 and 62% in 2030.

The full report is available in this link.

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