Pollution: Madrid Still Does Not Meet The European Limit Despite

Pollution: Madrid still does not meet the European limit despite the stoppage of the pandemic

The air quality monitoring station at Plaza Elíptica in Madrid (Spain), which always records the highest levels of NO2 in the municipality, exceeded the limit established by European regulations in 2020.

View of Madrid without contamination, last Friday.

The historical decrease in pollution in Madrid as a result of the collapse of mobility due to the coronavirus crisis has been insufficient to comply with the European directive on emissions of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and tropospheric ozone (O3), which would have been the first time since 2010, the year in which it entered into force.

We had to wait until the last day of 2020 to find out if the Plaza Elíptica air quality monitoring station, which records always the highest levels of NO2 of the municipal network, exceeded 40 micrograms per cubic meter on average per year, the limit established by European regulations.

In the end it has closed the year with 41, according to data from the Air Quality Service of the Madrid City Council collected by the Efe agency. The decrease has been generalized and the 23 remaining stations of the municipal network have not exceeded that limit.

Plaza Elíptica has been followed Aguirre Schools (35 micrograms per cubic meter), Ramón y Cajal (32 micrograms); and with 31, Plaza de España, Villaverde and Ensanche de Vallecas. Carmen Square has had an average of 29 micrograms.

In addition, no station has exceeded the NO2 hourly limit value, which should not be exceeded 18 times a year and is set at 200 micrograms per cubic meter in one hour.

The one that has overcome it the most days has been Ramón y Cajal (six), followed by Plaza Elíptica (five), Barajas Pueblo (one) and Cuatro Caminos (one).

In 2019, the first year in which the Madrid Central Low Emission Zone (ZBE) was operational, two measurement stations exceeded the annual limit of 40 micrograms: Elliptical Plaza and Aguirre Schools.

And that Madrid Central, launched by the government of Manuela Carmena (Now Madrid), allowed to reach in 2019 the levels of pollution by nitrogen dioxide (NO2) lowest of the decade, indicated the Ecologists in Action report of that year.

a structural problem

In the city of Madrid, in addition to Plaza Elíptica, where the City Council (currently co-governed by PP and Ciudadanos) plans to launch a low-emissions zone this year, it has highlighted the drop in NO2 at the Escuelas Aguirre (32% less), Arturo Soria (27% less) and Plaza de Castilla, Barrio del Pilar and Barajas stations (all three with 25% less).

“These are reductions not known so far from one year to the next”, has indicated to Efe Juan García Vicente, of Ecologists in Action.

Miguel Ángel Ceballos, coordinator of this organization’s report on air quality in cities during the state of alarm, considers that with confinement the situation “improved substantially”, but “not desirable”.

Ceballos already warned in September that much of the usual traffic had recovered and that NO2 and O3 emissions had risen again in the Community of Madrid “above” what was happening in “Catalonia and the rest of the Mediterranean arc”.

For Ecologists in Action “the structural problem is still there” and the authorities should undertake “more ambitious measures” to protect the health of the people of Madrid.

In summer, the ozone pollution decreased throughout Spain (41% according to the environmental report), but to a lesser extent, although for this pollutant the average is three years.

In the measurement network of the city of Madrid, no station exceeded the warning threshold for the population by O3 in 2020 (set at 180 micrograms per cubic meter in one hour), while in that of the Community only that of Alcalá de Henares surpassed it once.

Despite this data, the best of the decade, 18 stations of the regional network and half a dozen of the municipal one have exceeded the objective value of ozone for the protection of health after exceeding 120 micrograms in average eight-hour averages in three days. years.

The European Commission has Spain under observation after denouncing in 2019 before the Court of Justice of the European Union that Madrid and the Barcelona metropolitan area have since 2010 breaching the legal limits nitrogen dioxide and ozone.