Air pollution in the city, the Legambiente report

COur lungs are broken. This is the slogan of Legambiente’s campaign to askThe Government urgently responds in the fight against air pollution which, due to PM2.5, causes over 47,000 premature deaths per year, and weakens everyone. A slogan more necessary than ever following the publication of the report Mal Aria di città 2024”, drawn up as part of the Clean Cities Campaign.

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The 18 cities outlawed for pollution. The Mal’Aria report by Legambiente

According to the report, a substantial improvement in air quality is still far away. And this despite in 2023 there was a reduction in the levels of air pollutants: but they still are far from regulatory limits of the new EU directive, scheduled for 2030 (20 µg/m3 for PM10, 10 µg/m3 for PM2.5 and 20 µg/m3 for NO2). And above all, come on values ​​suggested by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Better than previous years but not enough

The data concerns the levels of fine dust (PM10, PM2.5) and del nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in the provincial capitals. And they say that 18 cities out of the 98 cities monitored have exceeded the current regulatory limits for PM10 exceedances (35 days a year with a daily average above 50 micrograms/cubic meter). There were 29 cities outlawed in 2022 and 31 in 2021. But the improvement is mainly attributable to weather conditions “favorable” conditions that characterized 2023, rather than an actual success of the political actions undertaken to address the smog emergency.

From Frosinone to Turin, from Milan to Naples

At the top of the city ranking is Frosinone (with the Frosinone Scalo control unit) with 70 days of overrun, double compared to the permitted values. Followed by Turin (Fat) with 66, Treviso (strada S. Agnese) 63 and Mantua (via Ariosto), Padua (Arcella) and Venice (via Beccaria) with 62. Also the three Venetian cities, Rovigo (Centre), Verona (B.go Milano), and Vicenza (Railway ), exceed 50 days, 55, 55 and 53 respectively.

Milan (Senate) records 49 days, Asti (Baussano) 47, Cremona (P.zza Cadorna) 46, Lodi (V.le Vignati) 43, Brescia (Villaggio Sereno) and Monza (via Machiavelli) 40. Closing the list is Alessandria (D ‘Annunzio) with 39, Naples (Pellerini Hospital) and Ferrara (Isonzo) with 36. If 2030 were already here, 69% of cities would be outlawed for PM10, 84% for PM2.5, 50% for NO2.

January 2024, Milan exceeded the critical threshold 17 days out of 31

But if these are the data for 2023, 2024 has not started any better. Just look at the striking case of Milan where, according to the monitoring stations, the critical fine dust threshold was exceeded on seventeen days out of thirty-one days in January. While in February the city was nhe world top ten of the most polluted in the world (based on the Air Quality Index of the Swiss technology company IQAir).

And we (the Greens) are back talking about Sundays on foot and new strategies to bring the air we breathe below healthy limits. But it was enough for pollutant levels to fall just below the threshold to revoke the temporary smog reduction measures and forget about it. And instead we need to think about it. And ask for an account.

Initiatives to reduce pollution

What can you do? A lot, according to Giorgio Zampetti, general director of Legambiente. How the sources of pollution are known (from building heating, from industry to agriculture and animal husbandry to mobility), thus the actions and measures to reduce emissions are available and known.


Among the directions to follow indicated by Legambiente, one new mobility. Which would also be reconciled well with safety measures for pedestrians and cyclists (see Bologna, city at 30km/h).

But they are also necessary incentives for the use of public transport, shared electric mobility even in the suburbs. ZTL, LEZ (Low emission zone) and ZEZ (Zero emission zone). Electrification of freight vehicles too. Expansion of cycle-pedestrian networks.

It should be allowed not to move unless necessary: ​​and the impact of the digitalisation of public services and greater use ofhome working.

On the topic of sustainable mobility, Legambiente has just launched the traveling campaign “Città2030: cities and the challenge of change” (until 6 March) and will stop in 18 Italian cities to ask for livability and safety.

Heating, campaigns, monitoring

We should warm up well and betterbanning biomass boilers and heat generators in the most polluted areas and supporting the installation of “nearly zero” emissions technologies

And promote, in the countryside, respect for sewage regulationsi.e. practices that reduce polluting emissions.

Monitoring is also fundamental, with the increase in the number of control units throughout the national territory.