Air quality in Madrid

Air quality index (AQI) and PM2.5 air pollution in Madrid

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Weather

What is the current weather in Madrid?

Weather icon
WeatherClear sky
Temperature59°C
Humidity75%
Wind3 mp/h
Pressure1026 mb
Air pollution has cost an estimated4,500 deaths*in Madrid in 2021LEARN MORE*Air pollution also cost approximately $4,300,000,000 USD in Madrid in 2021.

live aqi city ranking

Real-time Spain city ranking

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#cityUS AQI
1 Villa de Valverde, Canarias

102

2 Chert/Xert, Valencia

91

3 Playa del Ingles, Canarias

86

4 Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canarias

85

5 Sants, Catalunya

81

6 Mairena del Aljarafe, Andalucia

78

7 Tabernas, Andalucia

78

8 Aguimes, Canarias

76

9 Barcelona, Catalunya

75

10 Arafo, Canarias

74

(local time)

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live Madrid aqi ranking

Real-time Madrid air quality ranking

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#stationUS AQI
1 Méndez Álvaro

61

2 Escuelas Aguirre

59

3 Casa de Campo

53

4 Plaza Eliptica

53

5 Cuatro Caminos

45

6 Sanchinarro

41

7 Vallecas

32

8 Plaza Castilla

29

9 Moratalaz

25

10 Urbanización Embajada

25

(local time)

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Madrid webcam

2:15, Oct 19

Is there air pollution in Madrid?

Thumbnail of Madrid webcam at 2:15, Oct 19

US AQI

50

live AQI index
Good

Human face indicating AQI level

Overview

What is the current air quality in Madrid?

Air pollution levelAir quality indexMain pollutant
Good 50 US AQItrendPM2.5
PollutantsConcentration
PM2.5
12 µg/m³trend
PM10
22 µg/m³trend
O3
5.5 µg/m³trend
NO2
66 µg/m³trend
SO2
2 µg/m³
!

PM2.5

x1.2

PM2.5 concentration in Madrid air is currently 1.2 times above the WHO annual air quality guideline value

Health Recommendations

How to protect from air pollution in Madrid?

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Forecast

Madrid air quality index (AQI) forecast

DayPollution levelWeatherTemperatureWind
Saturday, Oct 16

Moderate 52 US AQI

Human face indicating AQI level
Sunday, Oct 17

Good 46 US AQI

Human face indicating AQI level
Monday, Oct 18

Good 48 US AQI

Human face indicating AQI level
Today

Good 50 US AQI

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon75.2°59°
Wind rotating 133 degree

6.7 mp/h

Wednesday, Oct 20

Good 23 US AQI

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon73.4°57.2°
Wind rotating 238 degree

11.2 mp/h

Thursday, Oct 21

Good 14 US AQI

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon69.8°59°
Wind rotating 294 degree

8.9 mp/h

Friday, Oct 22

Good 11 US AQI

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon64.4°50°
Wind rotating 47 degree

11.2 mp/h

Saturday, Oct 23

Good 15 US AQI

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon64.4°48.2°
Wind rotating 53 degree

6.7 mp/h

Sunday, Oct 24

Good 21 US AQI

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon66.2°51.8°
Wind rotating 229 degree

2.2 mp/h

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Historical

Historic air quality graph for Madrid

How to best protect from air pollution?

Reduce your air pollution exposure in Madrid

AIR QUALITY ANALYSIS AND STATISTICS FOR Madrid

Is Madrid polluted?

About 3.2 million people call Madrid home—making the Spanish capital the country’s largest city in terms of population and urban area. In Madrid, the main air pollutants of concern are fine particulate matter, which describes airborne particles less than 2.5 microns in diameter (PM2.5), and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). Clogged streets and idling cars are the primary drivers of poor air quality in Madrid, road traffic alone can cause up to 90% of NO2 concentrations in the city centre.1 Madrid also struggles with PM2.5 concentrations that have exceeded World Health Organisation (WHO) targets. While the WHO recommends an average annual PM2.5 target of 10 µg/m3 or less, the average air quality in Madrid exceeded this target during three months in 2019. Traffic is also the primary source of PM2.5 pollution, specifically from diesel vehicles.2 Madrid City Council estimates, on a typical weekday, 2.5 million cars and 0.9 million buses, taxis and delivery vehicles make a trip throughout the city.3

What are the health impacts of Madrid air pollution?

Even at low levels, Madrid air pollution causes significant health effects. Poor air quality can aggravate or cause respiratory problems such as asthma, increase risk of cardiovascular disease and lead to premature deaths. During 2020, excess PM2.5 and NO2 concentrations caused an estimated 5,600 deaths in Madrid and burdened the city with about US $5.3 billion in healthcare costs.4 Throughout Spain, air pollution-related costs add up to 3.5% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).5

How bad is air pollution in Madrid?

Madrid’s air quality is among the worst in Spain for NO2 pollution; the European Environment Agency’s latest report shows that in 2017 NO2 concentrations in Madrid soared above annual (40 µg/m3) limits set by the EU.6 More broadly, Spain as a country has been singled out by the European Commission for repeated non-compliance with regulations.7 Limit values on ambient air quality are set by EU legislation for particulate matter (PM), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and NO2.8 When these limits are exceeded, as in the case of Spain’s NO2 levels, Member States must implement air quality plans which set measures to reduce the levels as quickly as possible.

However, in terms of annual mean concentrations of PM2.5, Madrid’s air pollution has stayed close to the WHO target of 10 µg/m3 for the previous three years. In 2019, Madrid recorded average PM2.5 levels of 9.2 µg/m3, making Madrid’s air quality the 42nd most polluted in Spain. In 2018, Madrid averaged 10 µg/m3, while in 2017 the average was 9.2 µg/m3. The reports came out worse for Valencia air quality and Toledo air pollution during 2019—though smaller cities than the Spanish capital, Valencia averaged annual concentrations of 13.3 µg/m3 and Toledo 12.1 µg/m3.

The Madrid air quality index records lower pollutant concentrations than many other global capitals. According to IQAir’s 2019 World Air Quality Report, Madrid ranked as the 75th most polluted regional capital city, out of 85 measured global capitals. Compared to other European capitals, Madrid also performed better. Annual PM2.5 levels in Athens averaged 22.3 µg/m3 in 2019 while Rome air quality averaged 12.9 µg/m3.

Despite maintaining average annual PM2.5 levels just below the WHO’s recommended target, NO2 concentrations remain a serious problem for Madrid. As the transport hub of Spain and centre of economic activity, the city has recorded the highest level of NO2 throughout the country.9

What is Madrid doing about pollution?

As the first Spanish city to restrict traffic due to air pollution, Madrid has taken notable steps to reduce the impact of pollution on inhabitants’ health.10 Following the traffic-control measures, Madrid City Council launched a programme called Air Quality and Climate Change (Plan A) in 2017. Plan A outlines four areas of action for improved urban air quality:11

  • Sustainable mobility: Reduce the intensity of private vehicle traffic. After 2025, no Class A vehicles (petrol cars produced before 2000 and disesel cars produced before 2006) will be able to circulate in Madrid;
  • Urban regeneration: Energy efficiency actions including the promotion of renewable energy and measures to reduce emissions from residential, commercial and industrial sectors;
  • Climate change adaptation: Nature-based solutions to combat climate change impacts in the urban environment;
  • Awareness-raising and communication: Raising citizen awareness about the impacts of air pollution on health and climate change.

Plan A also outlines targets for 2020 and 2030. Target one aims to achieve the recommended concentrations set by the WHO for PM2.5 and NO2 by 2020. In 2019, only two monitoring stations recorded average annual NO2 concentrations above the WHO target of 40 µg/m3, the best result for several years, but the city failed to meet the average annual PM2.5 target.5 Target two aims to implement a low-emission urban model by 2030, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40% compared to 1990 levels. Beyond traffic congestion measures, Plan A also addresses the continued use of coal boilers, a potent source of nitrous oxides. All coal boilers will be prohibited and diesel boiler numbers halved by 2022.12

Madrid already has an alert system in place for when NO2 concentrations reach extreme levels. If concentrations in any metropolitan zone exceed 400 µg/m3 for three consecutive hours, only “Zero Emission” or “ECO” vehicles are allowed to circulate.13

Has air pollution improved in Madrid?

A study of air pollutants in Madrid from 2000-2009 records average PM2.5 concentrations of 17.1 µg/m3 and NO2 concentrations of 59.4 µg/m3 during the period.14 Gradually, Madrid’s air pollution has improved from these historic levels. Average annual NO2 levels decreased by 37% over the period 1996-2011 and average annual PM2.5 levels have been recorded below 10 µg/m3 from 2016-2019.15

An important barrier remains in the implementation of the vehicle restriction measures throughout the city. In 2018 the mayor of Madrid, José Luis Martínez-Almeida, briefly suspended fines for vehicles who violated the restrictions on driving in central Madrid.16 Though the fines were later reinstated, political pressures may cause municipal leaders to reduce enforcement of the tough new transportation restrictions under Plan A.

What is the EU doing about air pollution?

Since 2005, the EU has set standards that are designed to reduce the impacts of air pollution throughout Member Countries. These unified standards provide the framework for Spain’s air quality management alongside its neighbours. The European standards for some air pollutants are notably less stringent than some other authorities and governments: for example, while the EU’s annual average target for PM2.5 concentrations is 25 µg/m3, the WHO sets a lower standard at 10 µg/m3, and the United States of America sets a standard at 12 µg/m3.

However, the EU is driving for improvements. The Clean Air for Europe programme launched by the European Commission in 2013 aims to move air pollution levels closer to WHO guidelines by 2030.17 By 2030, the EU also intends to reduce the number of premature deaths across Member Countries by half compared to 2005.


+ Article resources

[1] Borge R, Lumbreras J, Pérez J, De la Paz D, Vedrenne M, Manuel de Andrés J, Encarnación Rodríguez M. “Emission inventories and modeling requirements for the development of air quality plans”. Application to Madrid (Spain). Science of The Total Environment. 2014;466–467: 809-819.
[2] Ortiz C, Linares C, Carmona R, Díaz J. “Evaluation of short-term mortality attributable to particulate matter pollution in Spain”. Environmental Pollution. 2017;224: 541-551.
[3] Izquierdo R, García Dos Santos S, Borge R, De la Paz D, Sarigiannis D, Gotti A, Boldo E. “Health impact assessment by the implementation of Madrid City air-quality plan in 2020”. Environmental Research. 2020;183.
[4] Greenpeace. Tracking the cost of air pollution. Greenpeace website, n.d.
[5] Ecologistas en Acción. “La calidad del aire en el Estado español durante 2019”. Ecologistas en Acción website, June 23, 2020.
[6] European Environment Agency. “Air quality in Europe—2019 report”. EEA Report No 10/2019, EEA website, 2019.
[7] European Commission. “Air quality: Commission refers Bulgaria and Spain to the Court for failing to protect citizens from poor air quality”. European Commission website, July 25, 2019.
[8] European Commission. “Directive 2008/50/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 May 2008 on ambient air quality and cleaner air for Europe”. European Commission website, 2008.
[9] European Environment Agency. “Air quality in Europe—2019 report”. EEA Report No 10/2019, EEA website, 2019.
[10] Sánchez E. “New Figures Deal Fresh Blow to Spain's Fight against Air Pollution”. El País, October 5, 2018.
[11] Ayuntamiento de Madrid. “Plan A: Air quality and climate change plan for the city of Madrid”. Ayuntamiento de Madrid website, September 30, 2019.
[12] Ayuntamiento de Madrid. “Madrid 360, la estrategia para cumplir con los objectivos de calidad del aire de al Unión Europea”. Ayuntamiento de Madrid website, September 30, 2019.
[13] Ayuntamiento de Madrid. “Protocolo de actuación para episodios de contaminación pro dióxido de nitrógeno”. Ayuntamiento de Madrid website, n.d.
[14] Ortiz C, Linares C, Carmona R, Díaz J. “Evaluation of short-term mortality attributable to particulate matter pollution in Spain”. Environmental Pollution. 2017;224: 541-551.
[15] Cuevas C, Notario A, Antonio Adame J, et al. “Evolution of NO2 levels in Spain from 1996 to 2012”. Scientific Reports. 2014;4(5887).
[16] Ansede M. “Pollution has killed 93,000 people in Spain in the last decade”. El País, June 25, 2018.
[17] European Commission. “Cleaner air for all”. European Commission website, n.d.

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