|3||Santa Cristina, Lombardy|
|5||Arcevia, The Marches|
|9||Meano, Trentino-Alto Adige|
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5:06, Dec 10
live AQI index
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups|| 118 US AQI||PM2.5|
PM2.5 concentration in Gaggiano is currently 8.5 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value
|Wednesday, Dec 7|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 143 US AQI
|Thursday, Dec 8|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 144 US AQI
|Friday, Dec 9|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 122 US AQI
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 118 US AQI
|Sunday, Dec 11|
Good 35 US AQI
|Monday, Dec 12|
Moderate 70 US AQI
|Tuesday, Dec 13|
Moderate 68 US AQI
|Wednesday, Dec 14|
Good 45 US AQI
|Thursday, Dec 15|
Good 43 US AQI
|Friday, Dec 16|
Moderate 54 US AQI
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Gaggiano is a city located in Lombardy, one of the twenty different administrative regions in the country. On a provincial level it sits within the Province of Milan, a highly urbanized and densely populated area in north Italy, home to well over three million inhabitants. Gaggiano itself has seen some extremely high levels of air pollution in times past, and continues to do so well into 2021, coming in amongst Europe's top ten most polluted cities over 2020.
Looking at the level of US AQI on record in Gaggiano in late May of 2021, it can be seen that the city presented with a reading of 60, placing it in the ‘moderate’ pollution ratings bracket. Looking further into US AQI levels and their ratings system, it is of note that US AQI is an aggregated number formed by calculating the volume of several main pollutants found in the air over a city (not just locally in Gaggiano, or Italy, but worldwide). These pollutants are ones such as sulfur dioxide (SO2), ozone (O3), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and the two types of particle pollutants, PM10 and PM2.5.
Out of both of these fine particles, the ultrafine PM2.5 comes in as the most dangerous and hazardous to the health of individuals who are exposed to it. It is regarded as one of the most harmful pollutants, emitted from a wide variety of sources (some of which will be discussed in the following question, but typically from combustion sources) and comprised of many different materials, some of which have serious effects when inhaled. Besides the US AQI reading, PM2.5 is also a potent measure of pollution when taken on its own, and is usually used to calculate yearly averages.
Other readings of US AQI taken over both April and May of 2021 include figures as low as 4 and 12, extremely appreciable readings that would place the city in the ‘good’ air quality ratings bracket for that particular day in which the reading was taken (with a good US AQI rating requiring a reading of anywhere between 0 to 50 to be classified as such, as well as being color coded as green, for ease of use and navigation amongst air quality maps and graphs used on the IQAir website).
However, it is of note that according to data collected over 2020, both April and May are actually some of the cleaner months on record, meaning that these very clean air quality readings are not truly indicative of just how badly polluted Gaggiano can become. US AQI highs of 110 and 124 were recorded in late April of 2021, placing those days into the ‘unhealthy for sensitive groups’ bracket.
In 2020, Gaggiano came in with a PM2.5 reading of 32.7 μg/m³ as its yearly average, a reading that placed it into the higher end of the ‘moderate’ ratings bracket (with PM2.5 readings having different rating placements from their US AQI counterparts as mentioned earlier). This placed it in 9th place out of all cities ranked in Europe, as well as in 332nd place out of all cities ranked worldwide.
In order to reach such high levels of air pollution (with certain months coming in with PM2.5 readings far above the yearly average), Gaggiano has a variety of different polluting sources that come together to compound the situation further, causing many media outlets and international organizations to condemn Italy for its air quality situation year after year, with few improvements being seen, in some cases actually getting worse. After the heavy lockdowns and cessation of movement in the earlier months of 2020 due to Covid-19, Italy naturally saw a reduction in its pollution levels. However, when normal activity returned, the air quality returned straight back to its deteriorated state.
Heavy car usage, as well as heavy duty freight vehicles on the road in their thousands would put large amounts of both chemical compounds and particle pollution into the air, with even tire treads giving off many tons of microscopic rubber particles that can have highly adverse effects on both human health as well as the environment. Heavy traffic is one of the leading causes of air pollution in Gaggiano and indeed many cities across Italy, with rush hour traffic being a continuous issue due to the layout of many roads as well as the general travel infrastructure (conducive to serious traffic jams).
Whilst cars are some of the biggest contributors to year round ambient pollution levels, other sources such as power plants, factories and related industrial areas can also have their own part to play, emitting large amounts of noxious air contaminants. Construction sites, as well as the burning of organic material in open sites (more common in rural areas or traditional homes that rely on such methods for cooking and heating during the colder winter months) are all part of the overall pollution picture in Gaggiano and much of northern Italy.
Looking at the PM2.5 figures as recorded over the course of 2020, it can be seen that Gaggiano’s most polluted months were January through to March, as well as November and December. This indicates a pattern whereby the pollution levels rise at the months at the end of the year and continue to peak in the early months of the following year.
January was the most polluted month of 2020, coming in with a reading of 74.6 μg/m³, placing it in the ‘unhealthy’ ratings bracket, the only month of the year to do so and a time in which the air would be at its most filled with smoke, haze, smog and other dangerous materials.
The months of May through to August all had the best levels of air quality in Gaggiano over 2020, with respective readings of 16.4 μg/m³, 17.4 μg/m³, 18.4 μg/m³, 17.6 μg/m³ respectively, making May the cleanest month of the year with its reading of 16.4 μg/m³.
Groups that would be considered more at risk to spells of polluted air would be people such as young children and babies, along with pregnant women. The elderly and infirm would also need to take extra care, along with those who have a hypersensitive disposition towards air pollution, and those that have pre-existing health conditions or compromised immune systems. Avoiding outdoor activity or wearing particle filtering masks during bouts of high pollution can help vulnerable groups (and the general public) to reduce their pollution exposure as much as possible.