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The air quality map for Prague is easily accessed from the main city page. It can be found by clicking on the map and a new page will open which is dedicated to the air pollution in the city and its environs.
The first thing a viewer will notice is the overall colour of the background to the map. In July 2022, the overall colour was a greenish/yellow colour which would indicate “Good” to “Moderate” air quality. There is a legend at the bottom of the page which fully explains the meaning of the various colours used across the site. They range from pale green to a dark maroon colour which would indicate “Hazardous” air quality. The viewer will also see many coloured discs which could appear to be on top of each other. However, these will begin to separate as the map is expanded. These coloured discs show the position of the ground-level air monitoring stations in and around the city. Besides the colour on the disc, is also a number. This number is the US AQI reading. This is calculated by measuring up to six of the most prolific air pollutants and is then used as a standard when comparing air quality in different cities around the world. It is encouraged by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
If an individual disc is chosen, then a new page will open which is dedicated to that particular area of the city. The number of stations that provide the data for Prague is shown directly below the air pollution map for Prague. In July 2022, there were 13 stations which were all controlled and operated by the government.
When looking at the main page for Prague, it can be seen that the city was experiencing a period of “Moderate” air quality with a US AQI reading of 53. This reading was taken in July 2022 when the main pollutant measured was PM2.5 with a level of 13 µg/m³. The WHO recommends a level no higher than 5 µg/m³, so this level place the air quality at over two and a half times that level.
Once the air pollution map for Prague is accessed from the main city page, a choice of four options will be seen on the left-hand side of the page. These can be toggled on or off, as desired.
The first option will reveal the location of all the ground-level air monitoring stations which are located in and around the city and its environs. These are represented by coloured discs; the explanation of the various colours is explained in the legend at the foot of the page. The numbers shown on them are the US AQI reading. Some of the discs may seem to be covered over by others, but this will become clearer once the map is expanded and the discs begin to separate.
The second option shows the location of any fires that are burning in the vicinity of the city. This is best looked at in conjunction with option four which shows the direction of the prevailing winds and should assist when guessing as to whether or not the ensuing smoke will affect the city.
The third option is the most dramatic as it can change the entire background colour of the map. In July 2022, the overall colour was greenish/yellow which represented “Moderate” air quality. Most of the visible discs were either green or yellow with just two exceptions which were dark orange which would be classed as being “Unhealthy for sensitive groups”.
Over on the right-hand side of the page is a table which ranks world cities according to their air quality. Sometimes a city will appear on this list which is not always thought of as a dirty city.
These areas are easily recognised by looking at the various colours of the discs. As previously stated, the darker the colour, the worse the air quality. Failing that, the stations are listed according to their cleanliness in a list which appears below the air pollution map for Prague. Currently, the most polluted station is at Praha 8-Karlin with a US AQI reading of 78 which is “Moderate”.
Below this table is a list of the stations ranked by their popularity. The most popular one being Praha 1-n. Republiky with almost 9,000 followers.
Prague's emission burden is somewhat specific from a nationwide point of view. Point and area sources operated on its territory are, with some exceptions, minor, and the highest share of emissions comes from transport. Given that important sources usually have tall chimneys, their contribution to air pollution is often manifested outside the territory of Prague. The biggest problem is fine dust particles known as PM10.
The largest sources of emissions of these fine dust particles are industrial sources, as well as local heating and transport.
Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is an air pollutant that is a concern for people's health when levels in air are high. PM2.5 are tiny particles in the air that reduce visibility and cause the air to appear hazy when levels are elevated. Outdoor PM2.5 levels are most likely to be elevated on days with little or no wind or air mixing.
Particles in the PM2.5 size range are able to travel deeply into the respiratory tract, reaching the lungs. Exposure to fine particles can cause short-term health effects such as eye, nose, throat and lung irritation, coughing, sneezing, runny nose and shortness of breath. Exposure to fine particles can also affect lung function and worsen medical conditions such as asthma and heart disease. Scientific studies have linked increases in daily PM2.5 exposure with increased respiratory and cardiovascular hospital admissions, emergency department visits and deaths. Studies also suggest that long term exposure to fine particulate matter may be associated with increased rates of chronic bronchitis, reduced lung function and increased mortality from lung cancer and heart disease. People with breathing and heart problems, children and the elderly may be particularly sensitive to PM2.5.