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7:31, Dec 2
live AQI index
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Moderate|| 80 US AQI||PM2.5|
PM2.5 concentration in Bergamo is currently 5.2 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value
|Wednesday, Nov 29|
Good 33 AQI US
|Thursday, Nov 30|
Moderate 67 AQI US
|Friday, Dec 1|
Moderate 66 AQI US
Moderate 80 AQI US
|Sunday, Dec 3|
Moderate 58 AQI US
|Monday, Dec 4|
Moderate 74 AQI US
|Tuesday, Dec 5|
Moderate 61 AQI US
|Wednesday, Dec 6|
Moderate 60 AQI US
|Thursday, Dec 7|
Moderate 55 AQI US
|Friday, Dec 8|
Moderate 54 AQI US
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Bergamo is a city in the alpine Lombardy region of northern Italy, approximately 40 kilometres northeast of Milan. Bergamo is the fourth-largest city in Lombardy, according to a 2018 census which estimated the population to be approximately 121,000 inhabitants. The metropolitan area extends beyond the administrative city limits, incorporating a densely urbanised area with slightly less than 500,000 residents.
During the closing months of 2021, Bergamo was experiencing a period of air quality classified as being “Unhealthy for sensitive groups” with a US AQI reading of 146. This reading is often used as a reference point when comparing air quality in other cities around the world. Data is collected with regards to the six most prolific air pollutants commonly found and this figure is calculated from there. If information is not available for all six, then a figure can be deduced using the information that is available. In the case of Bergamo, only PM2.5 was recorded which was 53.9 µg/m³.
The level of PM2.5 can be seen to be five and a half times higher than the suggested level of 10 µg/m³. This level has been determined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as being an acceptable level of air pollution, although no level is to be considered as being safe.
With a level such as this, the given advice would be to stay indoors and close all doors and windows so as to prevent the ingress of more polluted air from entering the rooms. The use of an air purifier would be beneficial, if one is available, but set it to recirculate the air without importing more from outside. Those who are more sensitive to poorer air quality should try to avoid venturing outside until the air improves. If this is unavoidable, then a good quality mask should be worn at all times. All groups are dissuaded from partaking in vigorous outdoor exercise.
There is a mobile app available from AirVisual.com for most mobile devices which gives information regarding air quality in real-time. This information will assist in your decision as to whether or not to go outside.
Looking back at the figures for 2020, published by IQAir.com, it can be seen that the worst month for air quality was November which returned a reading of 38.6 µg/m³ which would be classified as being “Unhealthy for sensitive groups” with figures between 35.5 and 55.4 µg/m³ to qualify as such. Air quality in the preceding month of October and the following month of December saw figures of 14.6 and 23.9 µg/m³, respectively. This was classed as being “Moderate”. The month of September returned “Good” quality air with a reading of 11.2 µg/m³. This leaves the months from early May until the end of August which achieved the target figure of being less than 10 µg/m³, as recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The month with the cleanest air was June with a reading of just 6.3 µg/m³.
Historically, records pertaining to air pollution were kept in 2017 when a figure of 26.4 µg/m³ was recorded. An improvement was seen in 2018 when the figure was 18 µg/m³. No real change was seen in 2019 when that figure was 18.5 µg/m³, however, in 2020 the figure was again lower at 17.8 µg/m³. This figure may not be a true reflection of reality because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many motorists were no longer required to commute to their offices each day in an attempt to halt the spread of the virus. There were also some factories and similar production units which were told to close on a temporary basis. Many cities throughout the world noted how much cleaner their city air was because of these measures.
Fine dust and nitrogen oxide above the values recommended by the WHO kill more than 50,000 European citizens every year, and Northern Italy is one of the most affected areas on the continent. The two pollutants provide valuable information on the source of the problem: in the case of nitrogen oxide, it is mainly from the exhaust gases of cars, whilst fine dust also comes from other forms of combustion, such as factories, domestic heating and energy production with fossil fuels. In Bergamo the major source of pollution is traffic, responsible for about 50 per cent of the dust created. Particularly harmful are diesel engines, which discharge the dust directly from the exhaust pipe (primary aerosol) and release nitrogen oxides into the air which, when combined with the ammonia produced by the spreading of manure/sewage in agriculture, produce further dust (secondary aerosol).
Another very important source that contributes to air pollution is the combustion of wood and pellets used to power domestic fireplaces and stoves, especially if not carried out in the latest generation and high-performance systems. The dust produced by the bad combustion of wood and pellets also have a high content of benzo-a-pyrene, a dangerous carcinogen.
Together with the Lombardy Region, ARPA, ANCI and other Municipalities, the “anti-smog protocol” was signed, which is a series of temporary measures to add to the regional restrictions already in force during the thermal and winter seasons. Among these, the limitations on the circulation of diesel cars and biomass domestic systems stand out in the presence of repeated exceeding of the limits established by the EU regarding PM10 in the air.
In the fight against air pollution, the Lombardy region has long been implementing concrete measures for the defence of air quality and the health of citizens, encouraging the disposal of the most polluting vehicles and their replacement with low environmental impact vehicles, part of both citizens and businesses. These measures represent a further effort to reach the limit values for particulate matter and nitrogen oxides in the atmosphere imposed by national and community legislation.
Most people know that air pollution causes lung problems, but exposure to smog has also been linked to many other diseases, such as heart attacks, strokes, dementias., kidney disease and diabetes, as well as having harmful effects in pregnancy. Air pollution is linked to premature deaths, most of which are due to cardiovascular disease. Fine particles (PM) can damage the cardiovascular system in many ways, causing inflammation, promoting blood clotting, narrowing the arteries and putting the heart under stress.
The smallest nanoparticles (about the size of those found in diesel engine exhausts) can be inhaled and then passed from the lungs into the blood. After that they can be transported throughout the body, and accumulate in different organs. If this happens in the blood vessels and heart, it can encourage the development of disease and even cause acute events.