Air quality lower this autumn, weather has not helped

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Ljubljana – The Environment Agency (ARSO) has detected more PM10 particulates and more nitrogen oxides in the air in October and November than in the same period last year. The situation is the worst in valleys and basins, where fog lingers for the most part of the day and the concentration of emissions has not been reduced by wind or rain.

ARSO has explained for the STA that last year, October and November were very rainy, so the level of air pollution was lower as rainfall reduces the concentration of particulates and other pollutants.

Temperature inversions, which trap pollution at ground level, were almost not recorded last year in this period, while they were quite frequent in the last two months this year, the agency added.

“The entire inland Slovenia is currently facing excessive air pollution with PM10 particulates,” ARSO said, adding that the situation was the worst in valleys and basins.

A detailed analysis of air quality and the related impact of the anti-coronavirus measures will be made after the heating season ends.

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“We expect that, as the weather conditions are unfavourable, the situation regarding PM10 particulates will be worse, as the main source of their production is burning of wood in inefficient furnaces,” the agency said.

It is expected that people will stay at home more because of the epidemic, and that they will consequently consume more fuel.

If there is plenty of precipitation and wind, excessive emissions are thinned down and the levels may be on a par with the previous years, ARSO said.

As for nitrogen oxides, their main source is transport, whose volume has dropped due to the lockdown when it comes to passengers. The volume of cargo transport has not dropped compared to the first wave of the epidemic in the spring.

The agency’s measuring stations are located in urban centres and other densely populated areas and it is expected that the detected levels of nitrogen oxides will be lower. This has not been noticed, however, due to the unfavourable weather conditions.

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