Researchers from the University of Nicosia have concluded that reducing air pollution can save lives, as 238 people lost their lives in Cyprus in 2017 due to pollutants released from vehicles and heating sources
According to a press release from the University of Nicosia, anthropogenic emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM2.5) come from 45% and 24% of vehicles and heating respectively. In fact, Cyprus, according to the European Environment Agency, in 2018 had the second highest NOx concentration in all of Europe.
Researchers from the University of Nicosia simulated the above pollutants in the urban center of Nicosia during the period January-September 2017 on an hourly basis, concluding that the implementation of policies such as the ban on diesel private and light vehicles and the withdrawal of all cars EURO 5 and below would lead to a 70% reduction in NOx. As a result, in 2017, premature deaths due to nitrogen oxides could be reduced from 238 to 73. Equally interesting is the research finding that banning the use of fireplaces would reduce particulate matter by 20%.
The Marine & amp; Carbon Lab (www.carbonlab.eu) used the GRAL® model to assess changes in the concentration of pollutants and the effects of particles on human health. Some of the scenarios that were studied included the ban on diesel cars, the intrusion of electric vehicles, the reduction of the speed limit as well as the abolition of the use of fireplaces.
The areas examined concerned the Municipalities of Strovolos, Engomi, Aglantzia, Lakatamia and Nicosia. The simulations were based on meteorological data and pollution measurements from the Department of Labor Inspection as well as data on the speed and category of vehicles from the Department of Public Works on main roads. During January, February and March, heating pollutants were assessed. In total, 21 main highways and 1,218 buildings were modeled. The results of the emission simulations in relation to the actual measurements had a deviation of less than 3%.
Specifically, NOx concentrations and PM2.5 were estimated within the city of Nicosia for 9 different scenarios. The biggest reduction in nitrogen oxides came from a combination of policies such as the ban on diesel private and light vehicles and the withdrawal of all EURO 5 and below vehicles. With regard to particulate matter, a ban on EURO 5 and below vehicles would make a significant contribution, reducing premature deaths from PM2.5 by 14%.
most promising solutions
In addition, the survey assessed the future impact of pollution in Cyprus by 2030. For this purpose, it was assumed that traffic on the roads would be around ± 20% compared to 2017. In addition, 4 different scenarios were considered, including integration electric cars by 80% in the vehicle fleet of Cyprus. The most important finding of the research was that even with a 20% increase in road traffic, banning the use of fireplaces would reduce particulate matter by 20%. In the case of nitrogen oxides, the elimination of diesel vehicles would have a greater impact than electric cars. The most promising solution that can drastically reduce the levels of microparticles is to ban the use of fireplaces. Bold decisions are needed on the nitrogen oxides that plague the island as incentives must be given to withdraw old and diesel private and light vehicles. Of course, a 70% reduction in NOX premature deaths is perhaps the strongest motivator.
The results of the research, funded by the Ministry of Energy, Trade and Industry, were published in the prestigious scientific journal Environmental Research: https: //bit.ly/3I3BgA6 Evangelos Dimitriou and Dr. Konstantinos Chatzistasou participated in the study. More information can be found at: www.carbonlab.eu.