Activation of preventative warning stage for high levels of nitrogen dioxideUPDATE 23/06/2018: Deactivation of preventative warning stage for NO2 pollution protocol as levels fall. People are advised to avoid using private vehicles and get around on foot, by bicycle or on public transport in order to improve air quality. Preventative measures are also being activated in the city as from 21 June, in line with the declaration by the Government of Catalonia announcing the preventative warning stage for high levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2).
The Air Pollution Monitoring and Forecasting Network in Catalonia (XVPCA) has recorded levels of nitrogen dioxide exceeding 160 micrograms per cubic metre in the Barcelona area. Given the situation, Barcelona City Council is issuing a series of recommendations for the public to help improve air quality and protect people’s health.
Recommendations to improve air quality
People are advised to use public transport or get around on foot or by bicycle, making use of streets with lower volumes of traffic.
It is estimated that up to 60% of NO2 in the city comes from traffic. Because of this, people are recommended to avoid using private vehicles and if there is no other option, to share cars or use vehicles with lower emissions. At the same time, drivers are encouraged to drive more efficiently (gradual acceleration, lower speeds, use gears to slow down, avoid abrupt acceleration and braking etc.).
People are also advised to adjust home heating or cooling systems and to be particularly aware of the effects of air pollution, changing sports routines to the times of day when pollution levels are lower, in the evening or at night.
What is nitrogen oxide and where does it come from?
Nitrogen oxide (NO2) is an irritant gas, reddish brown in colour and with an acrid smell. It is generated by combustion (heating, vehicles and ships). It is estimated that up to 60% of it comes from traffic.