Rates higher than international standards
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More than 1.5 million Parisians are still exposed to high pollution levels, if not very high. Reviewing the 2015 report, the regional agency AirParif reiterated the importance of the fight against chronic pollution.
Also, Paris’ air background improvement observed the last ten years continued in 2015. The positive impact of regulatory and incentive measures to reduce emissions added to rather favorable weather facilitated the dispersion of pollution throughout the year except for the period of pollution peak the region experienced in March.
Karine Léger, engineer of AirParif added:
“The softness of winter temperatures in particular, limited the use of heating. The latter is still the cause of 20 to 25% of emissions of particles and nitrogen dioxide in the Ile-de-France”
Rates Higher Than International Standards
However, if particle levels have stabilized and those of nitrogen dioxide decreased slightly compared to 2014, they remain well above regulatory requirements. Although down 30% since 2000, the average concentration of PM2.5 (particles with a diameter less than 2.5 microns, and most dangerous) reached 15 micrograms per cubic meter of air (ug / m3) and even 22 micrograms / m3 in urban areas, significantly higher than the 10 mg / m3 recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) annual average.
PM10 levels as nitrogen dioxide are themselves more than twice the WHO standards (20 ug / m3 and 40 ug / m3) in the traffic areas. They also still the subject of a dispute between France and the European Union for non-compliance with directives on air quality, said Airparif.
16 Days Of Pollution Peaks
Ozone, meanwhile, is the only pollutant for which the average levels have increased in recent decades. In the single year 2015, there were 15 days over the protection threshold (120 ug / m3 over 8 hours) twice more 2014.
“In 2015, we have a return to normal summer conditions, whereas the summer of 2014 was cold and rainy,”
says Karine Leger, while recalling that this pollutant is not directly emitted into the atmosphere but is formed during chemical changes under the action of sunlight.
Beyond this daily chronic pollution, 2015 was marked by the same number of episodes of pollution as 2014 (16 days). The alert threshold for particle matter was exceeded four times between January and March when it led to the establishment of alternating traffic.