Air quality in Quito

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

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Weather

What is the current weather in Quito?

Weather icon
WeatherRain
Temperature53.6°F
Humidity89%
Wind1 mp/h
Pressure30 Hg

live aqi city ranking

Real-time Ecuador city ranking

#cityUS AQI
1 Quito, Pichincha

49

(local time)

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live Quito aqi ranking

Real-time Quito air quality ranking

#stationUS AQI
1 Avenida America

53

2 Quito Colegio Gonzaga - REMMAQ

49

3 Semaica - Colon

46

(local time)

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US AQI

49

live AQI index
Good

Human face indicating AQI level

Overview

What is the current air quality in Quito?

Air pollution levelAir quality indexMain pollutant
Good 49 US AQItrendPM2.5
PollutantsConcentration
PM2.5
12µg/m³trend
!

PM2.5

x2.4

PM2.5 concentration in Quito is currently 2.4 times the WHO annual air quality guideline value

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What is the current air quality in Quito?

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Forecast

Quito air quality index (AQI) forecast

DayPollution levelWeatherTemperatureWind
Tuesday, Apr 9

Good 46 AQI US

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon
68° 48.2°
Wind rotating 322 degree 4.5 mp/h
Wednesday, Apr 10

Moderate 52 AQI US

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon
69.8° 48.2°
Wind rotating 325 degree 4.5 mp/h
Thursday, Apr 11

Good 45 AQI US

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon
69.8° 48.2°
Wind rotating 317 degree 4.5 mp/h
Today

Good 49 AQI US

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon 80%
68° 50°
Wind rotating 11 degree 6.7 mp/h
Saturday, Apr 13

Good 50 AQI US

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon 100%
68° 50°
Wind rotating 330 degree 4.5 mp/h
Sunday, Apr 14

Good 44 AQI US

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon 100%
68° 51.8°
Wind rotating 317 degree 4.5 mp/h
Monday, Apr 15

Good 44 AQI US

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon 80%
68° 51.8°
Wind rotating 337 degree 4.5 mp/h
Tuesday, Apr 16

Moderate 55 AQI US

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon 100%
68° 51.8°
Wind rotating 289 degree 4.5 mp/h
Wednesday, Apr 17

Moderate 56 AQI US

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon 100%
62.6° 51.8°
Wind rotating 305 degree 4.5 mp/h
Thursday, Apr 18

Moderate 56 AQI US

Human face indicating AQI level
Weather icon 100%
66.2° 53.6°
Wind rotating 321 degree 2.2 mp/h

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AIR QUALITY ANALYSIS AND STATISTICS FOR Quito

What is the current level of air pollution in Quito?

Quito; formally Saint Francis of Quito is the capital of Ecuador and at an elevation of 2,850 metres above sea level, it is the second highest official capital city in the world, and also the one which is closest to the equator. The population was last subject to a census in 2020 when it was estimated to be slightly over 2 million people. This figure exceeds 3 million when the metro area is taken into account too.

In September 2021, Quito was enjoying a period of “Good” quality air with a US AQI reading of just 9. This United States Air Quality Index number is calculated using the levels of six of the most prolific air pollutants, such as nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, ozone, carbon monoxide and both sizes of particulate matter, which are PM2.5 and PM10. It can then be used as the metric when comparing air quality in other cities around the world. If data is unavailable for all 6 pollutants, a figure can still be calculated by using what figures there are. For Quito, the only recorded figure was that of PM2.5 which was 2.1 µg/m³. This figure falls well below the target figure of 10 µg/m³ as recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO). This figure is based on satellite data as there is no ground-level monitoring station in Quito.

With air as relatively clean as this, doors and windows can safely be opened to allow the flow of fresh air through the building. All forms of outdoor activity can be enjoyed without fear of air pollution.

Does this level of air quality in Quito remain the same throughout the year?

Looking back at the figures released by IQAir for 2020, it can readily be seen that the worst air was seen in November with a figure of 12.3 µg/m³, which classified it as being “Moderate”. Any figure between 12.2 and 35.4 µg/m³ would fall into this category. The only other month of the year where the air was slightly polluted was February with a “Good” reading of 10.1 µg/m³. To fall into this category, figures need to be between 10 and 12 µg/m³. For the remaining ten months of the year, Quito achieved the target figure of 10 µg/m³ or less, as recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The cleanest months were April and May with figures of 5.5 and 5.6 µg/m³, respectively.

Historically, records pertaining to air quality were kept since 2019 when the figure was 8.6 µg/m³. The following year showed a slight improvement when a figure of 7.6 µg/m³ was recorded. This coincided with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic when many vehicles were no longer in daily use in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus. Many factories and non-essential production units were also required to close which removed their emissions from the atmosphere and therefore, most cities revealed very good figures for air quality.

What is the cause of air pollution in Quito?

Located in a high Andean valley, Quito suffers from severe air pollution, mainly emitted by manufacturing plants as well as motor vehicles. Improving air quality would result in diminished respiratory illness, which currently costs Quito's residents several millions of dollars annually in lost earnings and medical expenses.

Technology transfer has succeeded in reducing industrial emissions at a modest cost. But diesel-fuelled trucks and buses, together with a large number of private vehicles, which are a major source of various pollutants, have been the primary focus of the local government's strategy for air quality improvement. To date, that strategy has met with some success, although future initiatives will involve higher abatement expenses and therefore will test the commitment of municipal authorities and the citizens they represent to pollution control.

There are approximately 825,763 vehicles that circulate in Pichincha but, above all, in the capital. In Europe, the Euro 5 and Euro 6 standards, which measure the sulphur content in fuels, vary between standards of 0 and 10 parts per million. While in Ecuador fossil fuels, such as diesel and gasoline, reach a concentration of 60 parts per million of sulphur. The PM 2.5 particulate material, in which sulphur is found, is carcinogenic and causes complications such as: allergies, colds, rhinitis and lung problems. Other pollutants are nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide (CO) and photochemical oxidants expressed as ozone (O3) and produced by aerosols and pesticides.

What can be done to improve air quality in Quito?

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the Municipality of Quito is incorporating bike lanes to promote alternative transportation, which also promotes social distancing and minimizes the number of passengers on public transportation. The city is also working to decarbonise its transportation infrastructure by promoting clean mobility technologies in the Metropolitan District of Quito. In particular due to the transition to electric vehicles.

A draft Ordinance was drawn up to establish the technical standards for the installation of battery recharging infrastructure in public and private parking lots, the planning requirements for the replacement of the public transport fleet and to outline the benefits of investing in this type of exercise. Currently, different entities of the city are working together to install cycle lanes, widen the pavements and establish exclusive zones for public transport.

What are the detrimental effects of air pollution in Quito on our health?

Exposure to high levels of air pollution can cause a variety of adverse health outcomes. Air pollution can increase the risk of respiratory infections, heart disease, stroke and lung cancer. Both short-term and long-term exposure to air pollutants has been associated with adverse health impacts. The most severe impacts affect people who are already sick. Children, the elderly and the poor are most susceptible. The most harmful pollutants for health, closely associated with excessive premature mortality, are fine PM2.5 particles that penetrate deep into the lung ducts.

Particulate matter (PM) is the term for particles that are suspended in the air, such as dust, soot, smoke and aerosol. Large amounts of particulate matter are typically emitted from sources such as diesel vehicles, burning waste and crops, and coal-fired power plants.

Particles less than 10 microns in diameter (PM10) present a health problem because they can be inhaled and accumulate in the respiratory system. Particles less than 2.5 microns in diameter (PM2.5) are called "fine" particles and pose greater health risks. Due to its small size (about 1/30 the average width of a human hair), fine particles can lodge deep in the lungs.

Quito air quality data attribution

3Contributors

    Individual Contributor

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    Semaica

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2 Data sources

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