The city's air-quality surveillance and control network is given a boost

New air-quality control stations on Av Meridiana, currently at its test stage. The facility is joining the eleven stations already located in several points of the city, to assess representative simples of Barcelona’s air quality.

25/06/2020 16:08 h

Ajuntament de Barcelona

The new station will be operating in trial mode over the coming months to adapt the necessary parameters and incorporate itself with guarantees into the air-quality surveillance and control network.

The facility is joining the eleven stations located in Barcelona aimed at covering the maximum number of sub-areas to provide a representative assessment of the city’s air quality.

The new station’s goal then is to enhance the representativeness of the pollution measures taken from various transit routes, each with a different case study, such as that of the city centre’s urban section, which is being measured in Eixample and Gràcia stations.

Of the eleven stations currently in service that make up the Barcelona Air Quality Surveillance and Control Network, administratively attached to the Catalan government’s Ministry of Territory and Sustainability, two are automatic transit stations, five are automatic urban-background stations, one is a manual transit station and three are manual urban-background stations.

For cleaner air

Note that the air-pollution values that these stations collect not only determine the pollution of the area they are physically located in but also operate as a representative sample of several areas with particular pollution-emission and dispersal conditions found in several points in the city.

According to the Councillor for Climate Emergency and Ecological Transition, Eloi Badia, “accurate measuring systems for determining pollution in the city are essential for combating it. Knowing the scope of the problem, in each Street, is part of our commitment to achieving cleaner air in the city. This complex detection system will also help us to assess the impact of the low-emissions zone and discover the scope of the pollution caused by vehicle traffic in each urban section.”

As for the new Meridiana station, he added, “this new measuring point in one of the city’s heaviest-traffic routes will provide us with a considerable amount of important information for assessing pollution on busy roads, in addition to the information we are receiving from the Eixample and Gràcia stations.”

Other boosts to the network

In addition, the surveillance network is complemented with a mobile unit equipped with automatic analysers, manual collectors and a weather station. The mobile units’ function is to take part in specific air-quality assessment studies, for example, assessments before and after the implementation of superblocks, green axes and traffic-calming areas.

The values collected at the stations are passed on to a high-resolution regionalised map of pollution levels in Barcelona. This shows the levels of the main pollutants that affect the city’s air quality: NO2 and the PM10. The tool enables displays of the annual immission levels for each road section, that is, the pollution values that affect city residents.

For the purposes of enhancing pollution measurements in the city, the current network is expected to be strengthened over the coming years with measurement campaigns with passive NO2 diffusers. These campaigns will be defined each year at several points and involve deploying these diffusers in specific areas with representativeness criteria.

All these data will enable us to have much more robust and accurate representative samples of the city’s pollution along specific sections of its roads.