|1||Kazincbarcika, Northern Hungary|
|2||Nyiregyhaza, Northern Great Plain|
|3||Sajoszentpeter, Northern Hungary|
|4||Gyor, Western Transdanubia|
|5||Szeged, Southern Great Plain|
|6||Miskolc, Northern Hungary|
|7||Debrecen, Northern Great Plain|
|8||Szazhalombatta, Central Hungary|
|9||Pecs, Southern Transdanubia|
|10||Dunaujvaros, Southern Transdanubia|
(local time)SEE WORLD AQI RANKING
3:54, Nov 29
live AQI index
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Moderate|| 62 US AQI||PM2.5|
PM2.5 concentration in Budapest is currently 3.5 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value
|Close your windows to avoid dirty outdoor air|
|Sensitive groups should reduce outdoor exercise|
|Saturday, Nov 26|
Moderate 74 US AQI
|Sunday, Nov 27|
Moderate 82 US AQI
|Monday, Nov 28|
Moderate 61 US AQI
Moderate 62 US AQI
|Wednesday, Nov 30|
Moderate 68 US AQI
|Thursday, Dec 1|
Moderate 66 US AQI
|Friday, Dec 2|
Moderate 78 US AQI
|Saturday, Dec 3|
Moderate 95 US AQI
|Sunday, Dec 4|
Moderate 99 US AQI
|Monday, Dec 5|
Moderate 84 US AQI
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Budapest is the capital city of Hungary, being the most populated city in the country as well as the 9th largest in the European union, if one is to go by population size within the city’s limits. It is known as Hungary's financial heart, as well as having a prominent presence and industry in finance, art, fashion, science, technology and education.
Due to its presence as an economic hub, Budapest is counted as the second fastest developing economy in Europe, and as such with any city experiencing a rapid growth and boom in population and infrastructure, there are bound to be related pollution issues.
With the mass increase of buildings, the rise of industrial areas and factories, as well as the larger amounts of people moving around in their day to day lives, air pollution usually goes up as a result.
In 2019, Budapest came in with a PM2.5 reading of 14 μg/m³, placing it in the ‘moderate’ pollution ratings bracket, a rating that requires a PM2.5 reading of any number between 12.1 to 35.4 μg/m³ for classification. Whilst this is on the lower end of the moderate ratings spectrum, it is important to note that any PM2.5 reading about the World Health Organizations (WHO's) target goal of 10 μg/m³ or less may yield negative health effects on those exposed over long periods of time, and indeed any pollution reading over 0 has the chance of causing adverse effects.
This reading of 14 μg/m³ in 2019 placed Budapest into 1360th place out of all cities ranked worldwide, as well as 6th place in Hungary. Whilst these are not catastrophic readings by any measure, it still stands to reason that Budapest, as well as Hungary, could make significant improvements in the levels of their air quality, being far more polluted than many of its European neighbors.
Observing the data taken over the course of 2019, there emerges a distinct pattern of when the pollution levels are at their worst, or in the same note when the PM2.5 readings are at their highest.
PM2.5 refers to fine particulate matter that is 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter. These fine particles can go down to sizes as small as 0.001 microns in length, and due to this extremely small size, represent a significant health risk for people who respire them. Subsequently, they are a major component in the calculation of the overall air quality levels, or air quality index (AQI).
With the data in hand, there begins to be a noticeable decline in air quality around October, with September coming in with a fairly respectable reading of 10.5 μg/m³, before jumping up by a significant amount to 18.7 μg/m³ in October.
This continues until February of the following year, showing that pollution levels tend to correlate with the winter months. The period with the highest level of pollution was over the course of December, which came in with a PM2.5 reading of 21.2 μg/m³.
Following on directly from the previous question, as mentioned there is a distinct cessation of elevated pollution levels in February, almost with a direct drop that leads into March and continues all the way through to September.
February came in with a PM2.5 reading of 20.7 μg/m³, and the following month of March came in with a reading of 10.4 μg/m³, showing a drop of nearly half, a considerable amount in regards to air pollution levels. So as stated, from March to September the air quality is at its best, with May and July coming in with the best PM2.5 readings of 9 μg/m³ and 9.1 μg/m³ respectively, making May the cleanest month.
Aside from being the cleanest months, they also managed to break into the WHO's target goal of less than 10 μg/m³, for the best rating of air quality. If Budapest were to be able to keep its colder months pollution levels down to similar readings of PM2.5, its overall yearly average would improve significantly.
Looking at the data provided in previous years, in can be seen that despite still having slightly elevated pollution levels, Budapest has made some improvements in its steps towards cleaning up its air quality. For numbers on record, 2018 came in with a yearly average of 16.5 μg/m³.
As mentioned before, 2019’s yearly average was 14 μg/m³, showing that an improvement of 2.5 units was made from the year prior. Although this is a small number, it is still a step in the right direction, however it will require the yearly averages of 2020 and beyond to see if the improvement is indeed linear or just fluctuating up and down. But as it stands from now, the air quality has shown signs of improvement.
With a large amount of its pollution coming from sources such as vehicle emissions, as well as the heating of homes and businesses during the colder winter months, there would be subsequent pollution emanating from the need to burn fuels and similar materials to provide the energy.
Besides just coming from city centers, the burning of wood and charcoal would be taking place in lower income districts or households that still utilize traditional methods of keeping the house warm or for cooking, although this is far more prevalent in provincial areas outside of major cities.
With this in mind, pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) would be ever present in the atmosphere, most prominent in the air over areas that see high volumes of traffic, with nitrogen dioxide being the main offender here, which has a significant danger to human health, causing damage to the lungs and triggering off respiratory conditions such as emphysema and asthma.
Other pollutants such as black carbon and volatile organic compounds (VOC's) can be produced from the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels (such as diesel used in certain vehicles or coal in factories) and organic matter, such as wood or charcoal that may be used for traditional heating and cooking methods. Black carbon is a potent carcinogen as well as having negative effects on the climate. Some examples of VOC's would be benzene, xylene and formaldehyde.
All of these have significant effects on the health of people who are exposed to them, particularly over long periods of time. In closing, it should be noted that out of all of the pollutants in the air in Budapest, nitrogen dioxide may have the most significant effect on pollution levels, constantly breaching or exceeding the recommended safe levels in the air in Budapest and Hungary on a constant basis.