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«Air pollution in Atlantis There has been a general improvement in local air quality in Atlantis since the 1990s. But there are still problems in ...»

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Air pollution in Atlantis

There has been a general improvement in local air quality in Atlantis since the 1990s. But

there are still problems in several towns. The action taken has not had sufficient effect, and

Atlantis's national targets for local air quality were not achieved in 2013.

1. State

Limit values and target levels exceeded every winter

Particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) and nitrogen dioxide NO2) are the most important components of local air pollution. Other pollutants such as sulphur dioxide (SO2), groundlevel ozone, carbon monoxide (CO), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and benzene can also contribute to poor local air quality.

National targets and limit values exceeded Atlantis has national targets for concentrations of particulate matter and NO2. In most towns these targets are not being met. In addition there are legally binding limit values laid down by the air pollution regulations. Although there is a downward trend in levels of particular matter, the limit values were exceeded in 2013 in Arkanar, Sun-city and Babur-Teppa. The limit values for NO2 are regularly exceeded in the largest towns.

Are we moving in the right direction?

The national air quality targets apply to the entire country, but pollution problems are greatest in towns and cities. Measurements show that NO2 is a problem in many urban areas. The national target for NO2 is only exceed in the largest cities in Atlantis, especially in winter due to a combination of exhaust gases and periods of cold, stagnant air.

2. Impact Air pollution is harmful to people, plants and animals The health risks associated with local air pollution depend on the concentrations of pollutants and exposure time.

In Atlantis, it is mainly people with asthma and respiratory complaints and those suffering from cardiovascular disease who experience health problems caused by local air pollution.

Children and young people, pregnant women and the elderly are particularly vulnerable.

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Health risks greatest for particulate matter and NO2 In Atlantis's largest towns, particulate matter is the air pollutant that poses the most serious health risk, although NO2 is also a significant factor. Exposure to these substances increases the frequency of various types of respiratory complaints.

Particulate matter consists of particles of such small size that they can be inhaled. The largest of them are stopped in the upper airways, but smaller particles with a diameter of less than 10 μm (called PM10) can penetrate deep into the lungs and are much more harmful.

Other pollutants also cause health problems Other air pollutants are also harmful. SO2 can result in lung disease in healthy people as well as asthma patients. Benzene and other aromatic compounds such as PAHs are carcinogenic. CO reduces the capacity of the blood to transport oxygen and can cause headaches, nausea and other problems for heart patients.

Effects on ecosystems and vegetation Local air pollution can be harmful to ecosystems and vegetation. NO2 and SO2 both contribute to acidification and eutrophication of lakes and rivers. CO and NO2 also contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone, which can damage vegetation and various types of materials. SO2 is also corrosive and erodes buildings and historical monuments.

3. Driving forces More transport means more pollution Road traffic, domestic heating, long-range pollution and industry are all sources of local air

pollution. Important factors influencing the emission trends from these sources include:

 economic growth, which results in a higher volume of traffic  the siting of workplaces and homes, which influences transport needs  car ownership, which increases mobility  the size of people's homes, which influences heating needs  the technology available – abatement technology and efficiency improvements can reduce emissions Economic growth, growing international trade, changes in land use patterns and rising private consumption all result in a larger volume of transport. A higher volume of transport reduces the effect of stricter emission limits and improved vehicle technology.

4. Pressure Road traffic the dominant source of local air pollution Road traffic is the dominant source of local air pollution, including both exhaust emissions and asphalt dust generated by tyres. Fuelwood use is another source of particulate matter.

Road traffic Road traffic is an important source of particulate matter, though the proportions vary during the year and from place to place. In winter the resuspension of asphalt dust contributes to the largest concentration of particulate matter.

Vehicle exhaust accounts for the largest part of the concentration of NOx. Diesel vehicles produce higher emissions of both NOx and particulate matter than petrol vehicles. Stricter European requirements have been introduced, and NOx-emissions from both newer diesel and petrol vehicles are therefore considerably lower than they used to be.

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5. Response New measures needed to improve local air quality Atlantis has set national targets for the concentrations of particulate matter and NO2 in outdoor air. In addition, there are legally binding limit values. The municipalities are responsible for control and enforcement of legal requirements relating to local air quality.

Reducing emissions from road traffic and vehicles Measures to reduce traffic are most effective when used in combination, for example road pricing combined with parking restrictions and improvements in public transport.

The XXX Legal Act can be used actively to influence the location of workplaces and housing and reduce the need for transport, and to encourage a switch to environmentally sound forms of transport.

Technical measures Technical measures can be used to reduce emissions from individual vehicles. Emission limits for vehicles are being made increasingly stricter, and the petrol and diesel quality is being improved. Since 1 January XXX, all fuel sold for cars and heavy vehicles has had to be sulphur-free. Emissions from road traffic can also be reduced by encouraging the use of alternative fuel types such as gas, hydrogen or electricity.

Reducing long-range pollution Long-range air pollution is being reduced through international agreements and directives.

These include the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution, the directive on emissions to air from large combustion plants, and the national emission ceilings.

Are we doing enough to reduce local air pollution?

The municipalities have implemented a number of measures to improve local air quality.

Examples of such measures include restrictions on the use of studded tires, speed reductions and road maintenance. From year XXX, municipalities have the option to impose higher fees during peak hours, so-called congestion charging.

The national authorities must help the local authorities to continue and intensify their efforts, and provide them with new instruments to use in this work. Good results depend on a comprehensive approach and close cooperation between local, regional and central authorities.

Without new measures and policy instruments, it will be difficult to achieve several of Atlantis’s targets and statutory limit values for air pollutants.

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On average, air quality is good in Shangri-La and the local impacts of air pollutants are minor. However, in difficult weather conditions in winter and summer, pollutant levels in cities may rise.

Emissions into the air have clearly reduced in Shangri-La over the last decades. Many of the targets set for emission reduction have either already been met or their achievement seems probable in the next few years. Nitrogen emissions have declined by almost one half and sulphur emissions by more than three quarters since 1990. Measures taken to reduce phenol emissions have not, however, been as effective, because no feasible technical solutions have been found for reducing emissions. Particle emissions have also remained unchanged throughout the 2000s and there are no signs of reduction.

Particle pollution:

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Particle emissions in Shangri-La Most particle emissions, about 60% of them, originate in energy production and some 25% in transport. The greatest source of traffic emissions is the wear and tear of road surface caused by car wheels and winter sanding. The resulting dust in the streets, especially in the spring, accounts for some 20% of total particle emissions in Shangri-La.

As regards smaller particles, with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres (PM2.5), smallscale wood combustion is the most significant source of emissions by far.

Fine particles are the most harmful of all, since they can penetrate the lungs all the way to the alveoli. Toxic heavy metals or hydrocarbons can bind to the particles. In the lungs, these are harmful to the health.

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Air quality in Lego-Land Ambient air quality monitoring is conducted at seven stations located in 4 cities: Gulyabad, Zarabad, Firabad, and Ulan-Teppe. The small number of monitoring stations does not provide for an adequate assessment of air quality within the entire area of these cities.

Therefore in order to have real picture of the air quality in the country further expansion and modernisation of the air monitoring network is required. This will also allow assessment of the affected population and for taking measures for their protection.

Motor transport is the main source of air pollution in Lego-Land. In terms of industrial emissions, after the key cement plants were equipped with highly effective air filters, the main polluter is Firabad Aluminium Smelter.

The high volume of emissions from the motor transport sector is a result of many factors. In order to decrease emission levels joint actions from different authorities are necessary. Such actions include the following: traffic optimisation; establishment of an age limit for imported cars; stricter vehicle emission requirements; development of electric transport etc. It is necessary to rehabilitate and modernise the air filters at Firabad Aluminium Smelter.

Protection of ambient air from pollution caused by man-made factors is considered an important task all over the world, because air is the most essential resource for living organisms. It is possible to check the quality of food we eat and to purify the water we drink, however it is virtually impossible to cleanse the air we breathe as it comes directly from the environment, hence the importance of protecting air from pollution.

Combustion processes are the main source of substances which cause air pollution: carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulphur dioxide (SO2), solid particulates, nonmethane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC), etc. Accumulated in the air they can alter its natural physical and chemical composition. When contaminants reach a certain concentration in the air, they can have a negative impact on human health and the environment.

Calculation and determination of emission limits for air polluting industries is based on the maximum permissible concentrations of harmful substances. Such limits are defined individually for facilities subject to environmental permits (the limits are defined during the permitting process), while the emission norms of the remaining small enterprises, as well as motor transport are established by relevant technical regulations.

The Maximum Allowed Concentration of harmful substances in ambient air represents the maximum concentration of that substance (averaged for a specific time period) which does not affect people’s health or the environment over regular periodic or lifetime exposure. The list of these limits, their types and values are defined by the Order of Lego-Land Minister of Health. It should be noted that this document is practically repeating the main provisions and the old norms and need to be revised.

The urban air quality data is based on a single monitoring location in each city and cannot be considered representative of the air quality of a whole city, but only of the district in which the monitoring took place.

The figure show that during the last 5 years the concentrations of harmful substances, including NO2 in ambient air exceeded the permissible levels, although trends appear to be decreasing over the last 2-3 years.

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Ambient air pollution is mainly caused by emissions from motor vehicles, the energy and industrial sectors. The main source of pollution in urban areas is undoubtedly motor transport. It should be noted that during recent years, fuel consumption by motor transport has increased, and consequently, emissions of harmful substances into air have also increased.

Results obtained from the existing air quality monitoring show that concentrations of the main pollutants in all main cities in which monitoring takes place exceed the allowed levels.

To have the real picture of air quality in the country the installation of at least one measuring point in urban areas for each 100 thousand citizens is desirable.

Despite the insufficient monitoring data it is clear that the transport sector is the primary source of air pollution in Lego-Land. Emission of polluting substances from this sector is increasing year on year and this trend is expected to continue.

Improved traffic management systems aimed at reducing congestion within cities is also important as the traffic congestion is a significant source of air pollution. An age limit for imported cars should be established and gradually tightened. It is also desirable to facilitate electric transport development. The public transport system should be improved to become more attractive for people and to slow down the increase in the number of private vehicles.

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