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The air pollution map for Novosibirsk is very easy to find on the main city page. The icon can be found at the top of this city page and by clicking anywhere on it, the page will open to show all the relevant information about air quality in that region.
The first noticeable aspect of the map page will be the overall colour of the map itself. It is currently an overall dark green colour which depicts the current air quality as being “Good”. The explanation of the meaning of the colours used is in the legend at the foot of the page. The same colours are used throughout the entire site so as not to lead to confusion.
Not all cities across the globe have ground-level air monitoring stations and Novosibirsk is one such city. The data used here to determine the air quality is provided by overhead satellites. On the main city page, just to the right of the US AQI number will be an asterisk which tells the viewer that the data is collected from satellites and not from ground stations.
This US AQI number is very important and is endorsed by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The levels of six of the most prolific air pollutants are measured and this figure is calculated from there. It is then used as a standard when comparing air quality in different cities. In September 2022, Novosibirsk was enjoying a period of “Good” quality air with a US AQI reading of just 17. The main pollutant which was recorded was PM2.5 with a level of 4.1 µg/m³. This is below the target figure of 5 µg/m³ as recommended by the WHO.
There is a lot more information available on the air pollution map for Novosibirsk but the map must be looked at in full-screen mode or it could remain hidden.
A drop-down list will appear on the far left-hand side of the screen and the viewer will be presented with four options, each of which can be deactivated if required.
The first option usually shows the position of the air monitoring stations, but as stated before, Novosibirsk relies on satellite data and not on ground-level stations, so there are none to see.
The next option shows the location of any fires that may be burning in the locality. Currently, there are none to see. Option four should be consulted when there are fires detected as this option shows the speed and direction of the wind and will indicate where the smoke might blow to.
The third option is very theatrical because it changes the background colour of the map to reflect the current air quality level. It is currently green which would indicate a “Good” quality. This colour can be removed by deactivating this option and then the map will revert to a more subdued colour palette.
Some more information can be found on the far side of the screen where a table is published which ranks world cities according to their levels of air pollution.
These areas are not easy to identify because the satellite data looks at the area as a whole and not as individual zones. The local industrial areas will probably show elevated levels of air pollution due to the nature of their business. City centres have often poorer quality air due to the number of vehicles using the roads on a daily basis. Pollution not only comes from the exhaust fumes but also due to abrasion of brake pads and tyres in contact with the road surface.
The major source of air pollution is not apparent from the air quality map for Novosibirsk, however, over the past five years, the amount of gross emissions in Novosibirsk ranged from 460 to 480 thousand tons. The Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology of the Novosibirsk Region, told reporters that 55 per cent of the total amount of harmful emissions comes from vehicle exhausts. The official noted that the negative impact of industrial and thermal power plants on the atmosphere of the city is stable. He stressed that the negative impact of the private sector has been declining lately due to the gasification of 79 per cent of private households in Novosibirsk.
Due to its geographic location, Novosibirsk requires a large amount of thermal energy, so there are 4 thermal power plants and about a hundred local boiler houses in the city. Their emissions make a significant contribution to atmospheric pollution. Due to its location, solar power has been deemed to be unreliable due to the lack of sunny days.
PM2.5 are the smallest particles, ranging in size from 0.001 to 2.5 micrometres (µm), found in the air. To make it clear, such dimensions are much thinner than a human hair (its thickness is 40-120 microns). Larger particles in the air, 0-10 microns in size, are also fixed and they are called PM10. PM is the abbreviated English Particulate Matter for solid particles. The value of PM2.5 and PM10 is determined in terms of weight - the number of micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m³).
These are, amongst other things, microscopic particles of mineral salts, soot, rubber, sand and asphalt, heavy metal compounds, plant pollen, waste products of microorganisms (for example, dust mites), bacteria, tiny droplets of liquids (the so-called aerosol pollution) and gases.
It is interesting that soot, which is especially abundant in the air of large cities, is essentially a derivative of coal and is a sorbent. Therefore, various toxic compounds (for example, resulting from the operation of internal combustion engines) are often deposited on soot particles. That is, we have not just soot in the air, but soot with harmful additives.
Due to their ultra-small size, all those particles of various origins that are constantly in the air, when inhaled, enter the lungs and are not further retained by natural biological barriers, but pass into the bloodstream. Unfortunately, such pollution - fine particles - can accumulate in the body, which may well become a trigger for various unpleasant health-related consequences.