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Summer holidays: Coastlines, cities and clean air? Airly spotlights the hotspots

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Analysis of NO2 pollution in the popular touristic European cities.

LONDON - As holiday season takes off and people head for popular coastlines and cities, cleantech business Airly has analysed and ranked the most attractive holiday destinations in Europe based on their air pollution levels, something people should be mindful of when travelling. 

Using sensors, Airly provides accurate, ultra-local, predictive data for governments, media and businesses to tackle the issue of air pollution head-on. Airly’s platform acts as a warning system for pollution at street level and in real time with greater accuracy and at lower cost for cities & enterprises.

Analysis of PM pollution at holiday-destination European coastlines
Particulate Matter (PM) - this group of air pollutants refers to solid particles that appear as a result of mixing the droplets present in the air with soot, dust, and mineral elements. It can have a natural origin – for example, wildfires or volcanic eruptions. However, the majority of particulate matter emissions come from burning processes. These can be small enough to get in the human bloodstream and reach organs. This illustration below reveals air pollution levels in summer months at European coasts, darker color = higher pollution.

Ranking of the top 5 cleanest coast regions in Europe (averaged data for 2020 summer months, Jun-Aug 2020)

CAQI_PM*

Region

Country

7.22

Eastern Scotland

UK

7.76

Açores

Portugal

7.77

Highlands and Islands

UK

8.15

Övre Norrland

Sweden

8.30

West Central Scotland

UK

8.42

Pomorskie

Poland

Ranking of the top 5 polluted coast regions in Europe  (averaged data for 2020 summer months, Jun-Aug 2020)

CAQI_PM*

Region

Country

30.6

Canarias

Spain

30.2

Malta

Malta

29.1

Sardegna

Italy

26.9

Andalucía

Spain

24.6

Murcia

Spain

24.0

Campania

Italy

*CAQI-PM - It is a number on a scale from 0 to 100, and the higher the number the worse the air quality is. 

The key insights: 

  • Air dust pollution (PM) in the summer season in Europe is much lower than in the winter season as there are fewer pollutants from the combustion of solid fuels for domestic heating
  • Air pollution along the coasts is generally lower than inland, mainly due to strong and frequent coastal winds. However, air quality on coastlines also has to factor in natural pollination related to sea salt levels 
  • - Southern Europe is exposed air pollution of natural origin (an important factor) due to the dry landscape or pollution from African dust 
  • PM air pollution in the top polluted coastal regions (PM10 = 30 µg / m3)  does not exceed the annual EU standard (40 µg / m3)
  • The highest levels of air pollution are observed on highly urbanised islands / coasts. They typically have a large amount of business / industry activity with high traffic intensity maintaining the local economy in a small land area. 

Analysis of NO2 pollution in popular holiday-destination European cities
Nitrogen Dioxide or NO2 is a toxic air pollutant gas whose main source is emissions from road transport. It damages immune system cells in the lungs and causes increased susceptibility to respiratory infections. It can make asthmatics more sensitive to allergens.

Airly also analysed NO2 levels in the summer months of frequently visited holiday-destination cities in Europe. The illustration below indicates air pollution hotspots and the table below explains concentration of NO2 in µg/m3. It should be noted that air pollution (in summer months) caused by toxic gases is more apparent owing to greater exposure from sun radiation (concentrations of Ozone are highest in at this time of the year). NO2 air pollution in the top ranked polluted city  (NO2 33.8µg / m3)  does not exceed the annual EU standard (40 µg / m3).

City

Averaged NO2 µg/m3 concentration for 2020 summer months, Jun-Aug 2020

London

33.8

Athens

33.7

Krakow

33.1

Paris

25.8

Rome

24.5

Milan

23.7

Madrid

22.5

Prague

19.5

Berlin

19.1

Barcelona

18.2

Lisboa

14.2

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