Slovenia records lower levels of air-polluting particles in 2020

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Ljubljana – No air quality monitoring station in Slovenia recorded an excessive presence of PM10 particles in 2020, the Slovenian Environment Agency (ARSO) has said. Measurements of the presence of other air-polluting particles looked favourable as well.

The agency added that the sum of the exceedances of the daily limit value (50 micrograms per cubic metre) for PM10 particles was lower than the permitted annual sum for the first time since monitoring began.

“The improvement in air quality is largely the result of favourable weather conditions, rather than emission reductions or other measures to improve air quality,” ARSO explained.

“Although particulate air pollution in 2020 was lower than in the past, particulate levels still exceeded the air quality limits during adverse weather conditions,” it added.

As regards such conditions, ARSO highlighted the passing of Saharan desert dust over Slovenia in March, which heavily polluted the air with particulates for a few days. The highest daily level of PM10, 195 micrograms per cubic metre, was recorded on 27 March in Zagorje, east of Ljubljana.

Despite the stricter regulations in force for PM2.5 particles since last year, the annual limit value for PM2.5 was not exceeded at any of the five monitoring sites where ARSO carries out measurements.

Annual levels of nickel, arsenic, cadmium and lead did not exceed levels permitted by air quality requirements at any of the monitoring sites last year.

The limit values and the critical levels for nitrogen dioxides were not exceeded in 2020 either. The Environment Ministry explained that the lower levels were mainly due to movement restrictions and a reduction in road traffic due to the epidemic.

Sulphur dioxide levels have also been below the limit values at all monitoring points in Slovenia for several years, and last year was no different. Carbon monoxide levels were below the limit value as well.