|6||Santa Cristina, Lombardy|
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Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups|| 106 US AQI||PM2.5|
PM2.5 concentration in Besate is currently 7.5 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value
|Sunday, Nov 27|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 120 US AQI
|Monday, Nov 28|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 122 US AQI
|Tuesday, Nov 29|
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 113 US AQI
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 106 US AQI
|Thursday, Dec 1|
Moderate 58 US AQI
|Friday, Dec 2|
Moderate 59 US AQI
|Saturday, Dec 3|
Moderate 58 US AQI
|Sunday, Dec 4|
Moderate 51 US AQI
|Monday, Dec 5|
Moderate 58 US AQI
|Tuesday, Dec 6|
Moderate 74 US AQI
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Besate is located in the northern region of Italy, and is counted as a commune, or municipality within the metropolitan city of Milan, in Lombardy region. Whilst it covers a small area and has a matching small population in hand, it is also subject to some high levels of air pollution, making it rank quite highly on the global circuit.
In 2020, Besate came in with a PM2.5 yearly average of 25.9 μg/m³, placing it into the 'moderate' ratings bracket, as well as in 524th place out of all cities ranked worldwide in 2020, and 8th place out of all cities ranked in Italy, coming in just behind Vicenza and Milano. This reading of 25.9 μg/m³ also placed it in the 'moderate' pollution ratings bracket, which when taken on the PM2.5 ratings scale (which is recorded in micrograms per cubic meter, or μg/m³) requires a reading of 12.1 to 35.4 μg/m³ to be classified as such.
A 'moderate' rating is color coded as yellow, and although it would present little risk to the general public, those with pre-existing health conditions or a hypersensitivity towards particle pollution or certain chemicals may find themselves experiencing some form of respiratory irritation or aggravation. Of note is that there were several months in which the PM2.5 count went up significantly higher, with readings going into the 'unhealthy' ratings bracket and presenting a dangerous level of pollution for much of the population.
PM2.5 refers to fine particulate matter that is 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter, making it roughly 30% the width of a human hair, and with the potential to go down to sizes many microns smaller. It is this property, coupled with the many different materials that can reach small enough sizes to be counted as ‘PM2.5’ that make it one of the most dangerous pollutants. Besides US AQI readings, PM2.5 is also a prominent measure of air pollution in its own right.
Regarding the US AQI number, Besate came in with a US AQI reading of 102 in June of 2021. This placed it into the 'unhealthy for sensitive groups' ratings bracket, which requires a US AQI reading of anywhere between 101 to 150 to be classified as such. This is color coded as orange, and at the same time in which this reading was taken, the PM2.5 count was registered as being three times above the WHO's exposure recommendation, making the air quality somewhat harmful.
Recommendations for safeguarding oneself from the harmful effects of high levels of pollution include actions such as wearing fine particle filtering masks, closing windows and doors to prevent pollution from entering into the household, as well as avoiding outdoor activity, if possible, particularly strenuous activities or exercise.
The US AQI reading is a number aggregated from the volume of main pollutants found in the air. These include ones such as ozone (O3), sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), along with the two types of particle matter, PM10 and PM2.5.
Like much of Italy, and in particular the northern regions, Besate is subject to higher levels of air pollution due to large amounts of traffic. Despite having a relatively smaller size, Besate would still have many cars and motorbikes inhabiting the road, as well as many heavier freight vehicles such as lorries and trucks passing through. Traffic comprises one of the main pollution based issues in the regions, with rush hour times causing the US AQI level to go up rapidly, leaving the surrounding air permeated with black carbon (the main component in soot), as well as nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide.
Highlighting the threat to the environment that excessive use of vehicles can present, the eventual wear and tear of tire treads can lead to many tons of fine rubber particles being deposited into both the air, as well as the surrounding water and soil, wreaking havoc on the environment and ecosystems of the affected area.
Other pollution causes include the emissions from power plants, factories and other similar industrial areas. Whilst Besate itself does may not have a particularly high concentration of such areas, a close proximity to many other towns and cities can also affect the pollution level of adjacent areas, with strong winds blowing clouds of pollution from many miles over.
Some of the main pollutants that would be found in the air in Besate, besides the aforementioned ones that go into the US AQI aggregate, include others such as the previously mentioned black carbon, as well as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Both of these are released in large quantities from the combustion of both fossil fuels, as well as organic material (which can occur in certain households that utilize traditional methods of heating or cooking, relying on firewood or charcoal combustion).
Some examples of VOCs include chemicals such as benzene, formaldehyde, styrene and methylene chloride. They present a large hazard not only due to the highly damaging effects they can have on an individual’s health when inhaled, but also because of their ability to remain in a gaseous state at lower temperatures, thus making the breathing of them all the more easy.
Observing the PM2.5 levels as taken over the course of 2020, it can be seen that Besate had some months with extremely high readings of pollution, as was mentioned at the start of the article. The months of January, February, as well as November and December (to a lesser extent) all came in with the highest readings of PM2.5.
This indicates a pattern whereby the pollution levels start to rise at years end, peaking out in the early months of the following year. Out of all of these months, January presented with the most significant level of PM2.5, coming in at a lofty 60.9 μg/m³, placing it into the 'unhealthy' ratings bracket, which requires a PM2.5 reading of 55.5 to 150.4 μg/m³.
This is six times over the WHO's target goal for the best quality of air, and a time in which all of the above mentioned preventative measures should be followed whenever possible, due to the large number of ill health effects that can be incurred from breathing such polluted air.
The months of May through to September all had the best readings of air quality, with August even going down a whole rank into the ‘good’ ratings bracket, with a PM2.5 reading of 11.9 μg/m³. Generally, the months of May through to August all had similar readings of cleaner PM2.5 units, before a rise back up was detected in September. As such, May through to August is the time in which Besate would have the best level of air quality.