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|Pignataro Maggiore, Campania
|Falconara Marittima, The Marches
|Bolzano-Bozen, Trentino-Alto Adige
(local time)SEE WORLD AQI RANKING
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|Air pollution level
|Air quality index
| 13 US AQI
PM2.5 concentration in Naples air currently meets the WHO annual air quality guideline value
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|Friday, Mar 1
Good 23 AQI US
|Saturday, Mar 2
Good 35 AQI US
|Sunday, Mar 3
Good 25 AQI US
Good 13 AQI US
|Tuesday, Mar 5
Good 37 AQI US
|Wednesday, Mar 6
Good 25 AQI US
|Thursday, Mar 7
Good 21 AQI US
|Friday, Mar 8
Good 29 AQI US
|Saturday, Mar 9
Good 43 AQI US
|Sunday, Mar 10
Moderate 66 AQI US
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Naples is a city located within the region of Campania in Italy, being the capital city of this region as well as home to over 967 thousand people. This sizeable population put Naples in third place out of all the largest cities in Italy, coming in just behind Milan and Rome. As with many cities across the country, Naples has some considerable pollutive issues going on in regards to its air quality, with many months coming in with some less than appreciable readings of pollution, as well as others where these readings jumped up to very hazardous numbers. There were a few periods of respite, as was also seen in many of the polluted cities in Italy, but it still stands to reason that Naples is subject to fairly poor quality of air throughout many months of the year.
Going by the data collected over the course of 2019 (as the most up to data and accurate measurement of air pollution due to the mass shutdown of movement imposed in 2020 due to the Covid-19 outbreak), Naples came in with a yearly PM2.5 average reading of 22.8 μg/m³. This reading placed it into the ‘moderate’ pollution bracket, which requires a PM2.5 reading of anywhere between 12.1 to 35.4 μg/m³ to be classified as such. This shows that the air pollution level is significantly higher than many cities across Europe, indicating a deep rooted problem regarding pollutive sources. Naples’ reading of 22.8 μg/m³ placed it in 730th place out of all cities ranked worldwide, as well as 14th place out of all cities ranked in Italy.
There are many contributing factors to air pollution in Naples, some of them locked into the urban infrastructure and compounded by the mass movement of people, as well as industrial factors influencing the PM2.5 readings. Cars and other vehicles play a significant role in poor air quality within Naples, with many automobiles often squeezed into smaller areas during rush hour times, leading to massive accumulations of different chemical compounds and harmful particulate matter.
There is also a history of illegal toxic waste dumping occurring in Naples as well, going back many decades and still having a presence today, with a surprising amount of waste buildup still occurring, as well as people setting fire to trash and refuse, a practice which is quite unusual amongst European countries and somewhat of an anomaly, once again tied into prior illegal activities taking place in the city and a few adjacent ones. Besides these causes, there are ones such as smoke accumulations from cigarette smokers, particulate matter from construction sites and road repairs, industrial haze and effluence from factories and power plants (many of which utilize diesel and coal fuels), all coming together to create the impacted pollution levels seen on record in Naples.
Going off of the data taken once again in 2019, Naples can be seen to have had some rather sporadic episodes of pollution taking place. This is in contrast to many cities around the world which have a clear cut period of lower pollution levels followed by distinctly higher ones, but in opposition Naples has readings that can vary greatly, with no particular pattern. In the hot summer months, there can be higher instances of smog buildup, comprised of large accumulations of ozone (O3) that are formed when various oxides of nitrogen are exposed to high concentrations of sunlight. In contrast, the colder months can often have heightened pollution levels as well due to increased power demand for the heating of homes and businesses.
The most polluted months of the year in Naples were February, October and December, each with PM2.5 readings of 23.3 μg/m³, 104.9 μg/m³ and 20.6 μg/m³ respectively. As can be seen, October was massively polluted and many magnitudes higher than some of the cleaner months of the year, with a number that was high enough to class it into the ‘unhealthy’ ratings bracket, which requires a PM2.5 reading of anywhere between 55.5 to 150.4 μg/m³. This is an exceptionally high number, and when such peaks of pollution are hit, preventative measures such as the avoidance of outdoor activities and exercise as well as the wearing of fine particle filtering masks become significantly more important.
With readings going as high as 104.9 μg/m³ towards the end of the year, as well as a majority of the year coming in with continuous moderate rankings of pollution, there would be a considerable amount of health issues related to breathing the air in Naples.
Some of these include conditions such as rapid aging and scarring of the lung tissues, coupled with respiratory irritation and distress. This can not only reduce full lung function among those afflicted, but also heighten the chance of further pulmonary disorders developing over time, which include conditions such as pneumonia and bronchitis, as well as aggravated forms of asthma and emphysema.
Irritation to the mucous membranes can occur, with the eyes, nose, ears and mouth all subject to possible aggravation amongst those who are sensitive to chemicals in the air. Rates of cancer can also skyrocket, as were shown to have occurred during the toxic waste dumping scandal that took place several decades ago, and are still possible today thanks to the burning of waste coupled with vehicular and factory emissions. Damage to the lungs, liver, kidneys, heart and reproductive system are all possible, hence the aforementioned need for preventive measures and keeping oneself safe from excessive pollution exposure.
There are certain groups amongst any given general population that will suffer more when exposed to higher levels of pollution and hazardous particulate matter. These include the young, the elderly, those with preexisting respiratory conditions or those with compromised immune systems or over sensitivity towards chemical pollutants. Pregnant mothers are one of the most vulnerable demographics as well, with excessive pollution exposure during this vital time period increasing the chances of disastrous problems such as miscarriage to occur. Babies subject to exposure in the womb can also be born prematurely, and with a low birth weight, two factors that can lead to both an increase in infant mortality rate, as well as both cognitive and physical defects possibly presenting after birth or even later in life.
3 Data sources