Osona and Vallès urge to find solutions to recurring pollution episodes

The last preventive warning for high levels of atmospheric pollution, deactivated in the last few hours, has once again put on the table a problem that at the moment remains unresolved. There are certain areas of Catalonia where particles usually concentrate PM10 and ozone. In these places, for a few days, the air quality worsens drastically to the point that it is not advisable to go out and play sports. In this last episode, which lasted several days, the Barcelona conurbation (especially the two Vallesespecially Mollet), Osona (with great impact on Manlleu) and the regions of Lleida.

In recent days, the air quality in these regions has exceeded the thresholds of danger to health.

But why do some territories suffer more than others? There are several reasons that explain this. First of all, there are the orography and meteorologywhich facilitate the accumulation of particles coming from Barcelona and its metropolitan area in others geographical points. The wind blows and the harmful elements are concentrated in the most sunken geographical points. In days of anticyclone, as happened during the last week, it is difficult for immission (the presence of pollution in a specific place and at a specific time) to be dispersed by thermal inversion. This happens in the Vic flatof Urgell or of Valles.

From Ecologists in Actionconsider that this scenario reflects an unbalanced territorial planning: “The pollutants are generated in Barcelona and the conurbation, and then, they end up staying in other areas of Catalonia. This is poor industrial distribution and we are against this territorial model. The Generalitat should act to reverse it and prevent the metropolitan area from continuing to turn its back on the rest of Catalonia.” They remember that in Italy, during the time of the industrialization, Something similar happened: the north (with the Piedmont in front) was developing and the wind sent the pollution to the south. The entity also denounces the seriousness of this latest episode Mollet i Baix Vallès Breathe.

Industrial pollutants, boilers, agricultural burning, pig farms and drought form a fatal cocktail

Ecologists in Action

Another factor is the burning of biomass coming from wood boilers. Xavier Querola CSIC researcher who has been denouncing this problem for years, considers that this type of boiler, very common in certain rural zonesalong with the agricultural burning, are an important cause that explains these episodes. Furthermore, in Osona, the pig farms and the use of slurry they favor the ammonia concentrationwhich mixed with other gases such as carbon oxide, becomes a fatal cocktail for the existence of particles.

According to the Department of Climate Action, the drought Nor does it help reduce contaminants, since in the quarries where aggregates are extracted for construction, watering and soaking the soil is not allowed so that the particles do not travel so easily.

summer ozone

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To these causes, when the heat arrives, ozone will be added, a pollutant that affects rural areas of Central Catalonia. The Government is obliged, after a court ruling, to present a more ambitious plan to combat the presence of this substance in the air. In ManlleuFor example, one of the most affected municipalities, the mayor has claimed receive financial compensation due to high levels of pollution. He equates it with the compensation received by municipalities that host nuclear power plants either landfills.

In the coming days, the meteorology will help disperse the excess particles of this episode officially now closed. However, the department is aware that the problem will be repeated and that the indicators will again be one of the worst in Europe when the sum of factors triggers a new period of persistent contamination. A situation that, according to environmental entities consulted and affected town councils, requires finding urgent solutions because the high levels of particles pose a difficulty for the respiratory system.