Short-term atmospheric pollution monitoring in a selection of European capitals
Air pollution is increasing in the context of uncontrolled emissions from human activities, mostly from industry, transportation and agriculture. Urban agglomerations concentrate most environmental pollution sources, given the high population density and their needs of transportation and energy, both of electrical and thermal types, along with huge quantities of wastes, whose improper management leads to heavy pollutant emissions in atmosphere, but also to pollutant leakage in waters and soil. In general, in each country, at least in Europe, the capital is the most populated city, which also concentrates important industrial sites, leading to poor air quality. This affects the population both on short and long term. Studies have shown that air pollution even induces chronic diseases, not only of respiratory-type, but also of the heart, up till reducing life expectancy. When dealing with urban air pollution, one must also consider the physical-geographical conditions, which may accentuate or, on the contrary, may diminish pollution through an intense air circulation, thus dispersing pollutants.
A selection of European capitals was chosen for the study presented here, as related to their air quality which was monitored for short term within the peak of the recent pandemic, in order to have a view and even a reference of the expected reduced pollution status as compared to the normal urban life conditions. The chosen capitals were: Paris, Berlin, Bucharest and Skopje, which are well-spread geographically across Europe and also have different economic statuses, along with different landscape conditions and climate influences, making them appropriate for comparison, differences being expected.