Air quality monitoring in Palma: nitrogen dioxide is associated with road traffic.

10-06-2016Joan Torres

In certain parts of Palma air contamination is above permitted levels. Last summer, mobile recording stations in three squares - Columnes, Miquel Dolç and Abu Yahyà - registered average levels of nitrogen dioxide that exceeded those allowed.

The regional government had installed these monitoring devices, and the town hall is now asking that there be more fixed stations. Currently there are two. One is by Bellver Castle, where there are no pollution problems, and the other is in Foners (near to the centre). Josep Maria Rigo, coordinator in the ecology department, says that the objective would be to obtain a clearer idea of air quality.

The data currently available are not sufficient to be able to make an accurate assessment for the city as a whole. The town hall is meanwhile waiting for the government's atmosphere service to publish definitive data for air quality in 2016.

Initial estimates suggest that the Foners station did not exceed the annual limit value of 40 micrograms per cubic metre of nitrogen dioxide. However, as Rigo points out, this is a measure for just one part of the city. There need to be others so that there can be a more representative value.

The town hall is due to meet government representatives later this month in order to update the plan for air quality monitoring that was developed in 2012.


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Juan / Hace 9 months

El Pais in English

Madrid has the worst record for air pollution levels, and one of the blackest spots is the area around its central Retiro Park. Other cities with areas that consistently show dangerously high levels of air pollution are Barcelona, Granada, Palma de Mallorca and Bilbao, according to the Environment Ministry.


Spain's air: in need of radical clean-up Successive governments have done nothing to combat excessive pollution levels Conéctate Conéctate Maryem Castillo


Madrid 9 OCT 2012 - 14:00 CEST

Environmental groups have been warning about Spain's failure to meet EU and World Health Organization air pollution limits for two decades, and yet, as a report released last week by Ecologists in Action shows, successive governments have done nothing to combat a problem that causes tens of thousands of deaths each year.

According to Ecologists in Action, and based on figures collected in 2011, 94 percent of Spaniards are breathing air that exceeds safe pollution levels recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). On top of that, 22 percent of the population - 10.4 million people - are breathing air that exceeds European legal pollution limits, the report said.

The European Environment Agency's (EEA) most recent report, from 2010, also criticizes the Spanish authorities for exceeding emission limits for nitrogen dioxide, ammonia, mercury, and other volatile organic compounds. Several regions in Spain have been forced to impose moratoria on emissions, or face fines for surpassing limits established by Brussels in 2010.

Madrid has the worst record for air pollution levels, and one of the blackest spots is the area around its central Retiro Park. Other cities with areas that consistently show dangerously high levels of air pollution are Barcelona, Granada, Palma de Mallorca and Bilbao, according to the Environment Ministry.

Ecologists in Action say that although there has been a slight reduction in air pollution levels since 2008, the NGO attributes this more to the depression that has hit the Spanish economy, which has prompted a reduction in car use, rather than any measures taken by the government or its agencies.

Francisco Feo Brito of the Spanish Society for Allergology and Clinical Immunology explains that free radicals produced during combustion may last much longer than previously thought, binding to other polluting particles and causing asthma and possibly a variety of lung diseases, including cancer, according to several studies.

"Inflammation of the lungs can produce permanent lacerations that limit our ability to breathe," he says. Free radicals are electrically charged atoms or molecules that are known to cause cell damage and have been linked to a variety of health conditions, including heart disease and cancer. A free radical is a molecule that is missing an electron and thus structurally unstable. To gain stability, it interacts with other nearby molecules (such as DNA or airway cell membranes) and plunders them to get what it needs.

The body has a defense mechanism against free radicals in the form of antioxidants, substances that are known to have a number of health benefits. Antioxidants can safely interact with free radicals to stop their actions before vital cells are damaged. But the body doesn't make antioxidants; they must be brought in through vitamins found in foods.

While scientists have long known that combustion produces free radicals, until now they had believed that the particles were unstable and persisted for no more than a second. Research has shown that when released along with air pollutants from exhaust pipes, chimneys or smokestacks, free radicals bind to those pollutants and continue to exist over the long term.

Exposure to particles suspended in the atmosphere can also cause brain damage and increase the risk of heart attacks, according to research carried out by the United States Medical Association. Urban pollution is also linked to respiratory disease in children under five, says the World Health Organization, and can reduce life expectancy.


S. / Hace 10 months

By 2021 many countries will be banning the use of Diesel Vehicles. Diesel fumes kill thousands of City dwellers every year. I expect Palma City Centre to introduce bans on Diesel Vehicles, and/or a Central Area Ban or charge to drive through the centre. (Congestion Charge ?.)