Urban pollution

Most Italian cities are affected by urban pollution, which is a major problem. This is demonstrated by data from monitoring stations measuring pollutant concentration. Even in those cities and areas where these stations are lacking we can feel the air is polluted as we experience breathing difficulties or problems. Traffic is currently the main source of pollution in every city. Domestic heating emissions are another major pollution cause during winter.
Pollutants are formed from the combustion generated by automotive engines and heating systems. Among pollutants, particulate matter is the worst problem occurring in Italian cities. In fact, in most Italian cities, suspended particulate matter with diameter below 10 microns, termed PM10, is increasingly exceeding threshold limit values prescribed by law.
Public administrations are pushing forward curbing measures to reduce PM10 concentration as number plates and traffic restrictions and the creation of banned areas for the most polluting vehicles. These measures alone, though, are not going to abolish urban pollution as, usually, the latter aren’t adopted on a long-term period but are temporary enforcements as ‘car-free sundays’. A sensible reduction of urban pollution calls for structural changes, as the substitution of older, more polluting vehicles with newer and more ‘eco-friendly’ ones or substituting older domestic oil fired boilers with methane fired boilers as well as changing individual behavior. Here is a set of best pratices that can help reduce pollution in our cities:

  • drive at moderate speed: as this helps producing less pollutants and save energy as you’ll be using less petrol;
  • park without interrupting traffic movement;
  • wherever possible turn off the engine when stationing or queing for a long time;
  • check your car engine and exhausts on a regular basis;
  • use public transport, go by bike or walk;
  • if you need to use your car try travelling with more than one passenger or organise a carpooling;
  • when you’re buying a new car choose among the most eco-friendly;
  • join with other citizens to ask the local administration to build more cycle lanes, pedestrian areas and restricted traffic areas.

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