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The return to normality after Covid did not harm air quality in Ibiza in 2022

Home / News / The return to normality after Covid did not harm air quality in Ibiza in 2022
Home / News / The return to normality after Covid did not harm air quality in Ibiza in 2022
The return to normality after Covid did not harm air quality in Ibiza in 2022

On World Health Day, the Sustainability Observatory underlines the importance of good air quality for the health of all living beings

Ibiza, 07-04-23 –  Ibiza’s air quality in 2022 remained good and was not adversely affected by the resumption of normal life after the Covid-19 pandemic, according to IbizaPreservation’s Sustainability Observatory, which announced the results of its analysis on World Health Day.

Its conclusion was based on data from 4 fixed stations of the Climate Change and Atmosphere Service of the Balearic Government on the island. During 2022, 97.6% of the information analysed from Vila, Sant Antoni, Can Misses and Torrent show levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in the air of ​​less than 40 μg/m7, translating as a “very good” level of air quality with respect to this pollutant.

Although the percentage is lower than the 99.5% registered in 2021, the figure for 2022 is still very positive. The report also reveals that during 2022 there was no episode which exceeded the limit at which air quality is considered “bad”, stipulated at 201 μg/m7, unlike in 2021 when two such episodes were picked up by the fixed station of Can Misses.

In addition, the average level of NO2 in the air for 2022 was 8.14 μg/m3, below the limit of 30 μg/m3 established by current regulations. The Sustainability Observatory points out that NO2 emissions are among those responsible for acid rain and very toxic to health and living beings.

Another of the polluting toxic substances that the 2022 IbizaPreservation Sustainability Report analysed was sulfur dioxide (SO2), an element that can cause health problems such as irritation in the respiratory tract and damage to lung tissue. As in 2021, the data for 2022 reflect “very good” levels at all collecting stations, with values ​​below 100 μg/m7.

Only ozone (O3) registered worse levels than in 2020. During 2022 there were 23 instances that exceeded the maximum daily limit of 120 μg/m3 for the eight-hour moving average. This represents a decrease of 28.1% compared to the number of episodes in 2021 (32) but is 20 more than in 2020, when the limit was exceeded only 3 times. Despite this, the ozone data for 2022 was not significantly negative in relation to air quality.

Ozone pollution episodes are due to the emission of polluting gases from human activities but also related to the reaction of these emissions to sunlight and air. This forms tropospheric ozone, which can accumulate in the lower layers of the atmosphere, especially in urban areas and on hot, sunny days. This means that ozone pollution episodes can also be exacerbated by natural factors, such as the high presence of UV rays and the lack of rain to remove ozone.

Ozone levels can vary greatly depending on weather conditions. Hence the increase compared to 2020 may also have been caused by the meteorological phenomena registered during the year. In any case, it should be noted that the negative effects of exposure to elevated ozone levels include respiratory problems, such as asthma and bronchitis, and can be particularly severe for people with pre-existing medical conditions.

Finally, in relation to suspended particles (PM10), the law establishes a concentration limit of 50 μg/m3, which may not be exceeded more than 35 times per year, and a maximum level of 40 μg/m3 for the yearly average. The 2022 values ​​reflect that there were 8 days when the average exceeded 50 μg/m3, 5 days less than in 2021 and 2 days less than in 2020. At the same time, the yearly average has decreased since 2021, going from 20.20% to 18.54%, both figures falling below the maximum level allowed.

The PM10 parameter is related to thermal power plants, traffic, intrusion of haze… etc., and causes respiratory problems and erosion of buildings amongst others. The Sustainability Observatory coordinator, Itziar Arratibel, explained that, “Air quality is important for health because the inhalation of air pollutants can have negative effects on people’s respiratory and cardiovascular systems.”

She added: “Air quality is also an important indicator of the state of the environment since air pollutants can be emitted by a variety of sources, including vehicular traffic, industry, the burning of fossil fuels, agriculture and forest fires. The presence of pollutants in the air can have negative effects not only on human health, but also on the quality of water, soil and biodiversity.”

For all these reasons, the Sustainability Observatory emphasised that the measurement and continuous monitoring of air quality was essential to protect human health and the environment.