Atmospheric pollution has increased in Athens-Thessaloniki in recent days. No information from the authorities

by on 15 April 2020

High and unusual concentrations of the particularly dangerous for public health, ozone, are recorded in the last few days in Athens and Thessaloniki, by the air pollution measuring stations of the Ministry of Environment and the Region of Central Macedonia.

“Staying home” may have significantly reduced air pollution from particulate matter, but for ozone it seems to be having the opposite effect.

High temperatures, intense sunshine and apnea are ideal conditions for ozone growth. Usually increased ozone values ​​are recorded in the summer months. This year, for the first time, there were increased prices in early April, in almost all areas of Athens and Thessaloniki.

The relevant authorities did not provide any relevant information, despite the fact that Greece is on the verge of being referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union, due to the insufficient protection of its population from air pollution.

According to the European Commission in 2016, the country’s population exposure to fine particles (PM2.5), nitrogen oxide (NO2) and ozone (O3) was responsible for more than 16,000 premature deaths.

In addition to these deaths, scientific studies show that long-term exposure to air pollution increases the risk of a more serious outcome of Covid-19 disease.

Increased ozone values

Increased prices were recorded at the weekend and on Monday, while today only due to the cloudiness in the two cities, there was a decrease in prices.

Ozone safety levels are 100 μg / m3 (micrograms per cubic meter of air) according to the World Health Organization and 120 μg / m3 according to the European Union.

According to official data (RIS), on April 13 there were exceedances of the limit value of 120 μg / m3 (maximum daily 8 hour price) in Athens, at the measuring stations:

• Geoponiki(140)

• Liosia (130)

• Maroussi (124)

• Agia Paraskevi (125)

• Thracianmacedonians (142) and

• Koropi (124)

In Thessaloniki (P.K.M.) on April 11 at the measuring stations:

• Hagia Sophia (127)

• Kordelio (125)

• Panorama (132) and

• Sindou (133)

In the Court of Justice of the EU Greece for air pollution

The verse of the ancient historian Thucydides: “Cities are excellent when citizens are persuaded by the rulers and the rulers by the laws” is as relevant today as ever.
While measures are being taken within the limits of constitutional legitimacy to protect public health and citizens are being asked to implement unprecedented measures due to the coronation, it is unknown to most Greeks that Greece is in danger of finding itself in the “seat” of the EU Court of Justice. insufficient protection of its population from air pollution.
On 12-02-2020, the European Commission called on Greece, on the one hand, to comply with the requirements of Directive 2008/50 / EC on air quality and cleaner air for Europe and, on the other hand, to approve its first national atmospheric pollution control programs.
According to Directive 2008/50 / EC, the national system should ensure reliable measurements, inform the public and provide information on the severity of air pollution.
In particular, Greece has not disclosed any information on the situation in its territory in certain years. In addition, it did not provide data on where the highest nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentrations appear, in which the population is likely to be exposed directly or indirectly. This is due to the incorrect location and inadequacy of sampling points in some settlements. Greece has also taken insufficient measures to reduce pollution from NO2 in the Athens settlement as soon as possible, pollution that exceeds the 2010 limit.

The effects of ozone on health

According to the European Environment Agency, ozone is not emitted directly, which is why it is called a secondary pollutant. At ground level, it is the result of complex chemical reactions between precursor gases, such as nitrogen oxides and non-methane volatile organic compounds.
Ozone in high concentrations can irritate the respiratory system, causing coughing, dryness in the throat and chest pain, inflammation of the lungs and possible susceptibility to respiratory infections. Moderate ozone levels can irritate the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs.
Children, especially those suffering from asthma, are at greater risk of exposure to ozone.
Exposure to low ozone concentrations has been shown to cause a significant temporary reduction in the ability of the lungs to function normally, even in healthy adults.
High ozone levels can cause discomfort, especially in combination with high temperatures (a phenomenon that occurs during the summer).

Covid19 and air pollution

Patients with Covid-19 disease who lived in areas with high levels of air pollution before the outbreak of the pandemic are at higher risk of dying from the infection than those living in areas with a cleaner environment, according to a new US scientific study. study, the first to make this correlation.
Researchers at Harvard University’s School of Public Health, led by biostatistics professor Francesca Domini Νi, will publish the paper in the New England Journal of Medicine, according to the New York Times and the New York Times. , found that the higher the levels in the air of dangerous microparticles (PM2.5) that penetrate the lungs, the greater the chance of death from Covid-19. The survey was conducted in more than 3,000 U.S. counties (provinces) over a 17-year period.
“The study’s findings show that long-term exposure to air pollution increases the risk of a more serious outcome of Covid-19 disease,” the researchers said, noting that even a small increase in long-term pollution can more serious the effects of the coronary artery. As they said, cities and areas with increased chronic pollution should expect a higher proportion of serious cases in the future.
Previous research has found that pollution makes viruses more deadly. A 2003 study of victims of SARS found that a patient living in a polluted area was twice as likely to die.
It is no coincidence that both Wuhan in China and Lombardy in Italy are high-pollution areas due to their high industrial and other activity. To date, however, the World Health Organization has said it is premature to confirm the association between air pollution and Covid-19 mortality.