Despite Sala’s rhetoric, the invasion of cycle paths, Area B and C, “Out of 322 cities, Milan ranks 303rd for air quality. According to the ranking published on 17 June by the European Environment Agency which compiled it by evaluating the indicator of ultrafine dust (PM2.5) in 323 cities of the European Union, placing the cleanest ones at the top and at the last the most polluted ones. ” The report and the details are from MilanoToday “The list, available in the form of a visual map, reports data on fine particulate levels in over 300 cities in all the countries belonging to the AEA, based on those communicated to the Agency by the member countries in accordance with the EU directives on ambient air quality. The data comes from ground measurements of the PM2,5 carried out by more than 400 monitoring stations in urban and suburban areas, which draw a clear picture of the population’s exposure to air pollution.
The data on Milan
With a concentration level of PM2,5 annual between 15 and 25 μg / m3, the Lombard capital is among the European cities with the worst air quality, defined by the classification as “poor”. Out of 322 cities it occupies the 303rd place and the concentration of ultra-fine poor per year, estimated at 20.1μg / m3, saves it from the very last positions, those of the places where the air quality is “very poor”, but the however, it assigns a place reserved for the most polluted urban contexts in Europe (red dot on the map of the Agency).
This year’s ranking
The 2021 ranking confirms the picture of previous years: the critical points in the Po Valley remain, as well as those in the countries of Eastern Europe. In the face of a progressive improvement recorded in central Europe, these are in fact the hard clogs in which the air quality continues to be bad. The surprise emerges from the bottom of the standings: Cremona is penultimate, in 322th position, worse than her only NowiSacz, in southern Poland.
Moving up the ranking slightly, among the cities where the air is still classified as ‘bad’, there are other places in Lombardy. In addition to Milan, which is precisely in 303th place, there are also Brescia, in 315th place, Pavia (314) and Bergamo (306). Only Lecco (222 °) is distinguished by an air quality that is however only ‘mediocre’. From 2019 to 2020, the three cleanest European cities in terms of air quality were Umeå (Sweden), Tampere (Finland) and Funchal (Portugal), while the three most polluted were NowySacz (Poland), Cremona (Italy) and SlavonskiBrod (Croatia).
The causes of pollution in Lombardy
Poor air quality in the small towns of the lower Po Valley has causes that cannot be attributed exclusively to traffic and heating, but which are increasingly affected by the emission contribution of intensive livestock farming. By consulting the inventories of emissions (www.inemar.eu) for the province of Cremona, for example, it is found that in the provincial territory 781 tons of ultra-fine dust are emitted per year (51% from biomass combustion for heating), but much greater are the emissions of substances that act as precursors of the same powders: ammonia (18,241 tons per year, 99% from agro-zootechnical sources) and nitrogen oxides (6,503 tons per year, 41% from road transport). The situation for Lombardy is made critical by the fact that almost a third of the cattle reared in Italy are concentrated in the region, and over half of the national pigs.
“The livestock load represents a priority source of polluting emissions – comments Barbara Meggetto, president of Legambiente Lombardia – it will not be possible to alleviate the poor picture of air quality in our region without addressing the issue of sustainability in intensive farming. In the next CAP, measures must be envisaged that pursue the reduction of the number of animals raised, as well as mitigating the impact of the management of livestock waste, supporting agri-environmental investments by companies ”.
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