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live AQI index
|Air pollution level
|Air quality index
| 32 US AQI
PM2.5 concentration in Piraeus air currently meets the WHO annual air quality guideline value
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|Thursday, Feb 29
Good 44 AQI US
|Friday, Mar 1
Moderate 52 AQI US
|Saturday, Mar 2
Moderate 61 AQI US
Good 32 AQI US
|Monday, Mar 4
Good 36 AQI US
|Tuesday, Mar 5
Good 17 AQI US
|Wednesday, Mar 6
Good 29 AQI US
|Thursday, Mar 7
Good 32 AQI US
|Friday, Mar 8
Moderate 68 AQI US
|Saturday, Mar 9
Moderate 58 AQI US
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Piraeus is a port city and part of the Athens urban area ("Greater Athens"), in the Attica region of Greece. It is just 8 kilometres south west of Athens city centre. The results of a census conducted in 2011, the population was estimated to be approximately 163,688 people. This ranks it as the fifth largest municipality in Greece.
In September 2021, Piraeus was experiencing a period of “Moderate” air quality with a US AQI reading of 80. This United States Air Quality Index figure is calculated by collating the recorded levels of six of the most prolific air pollutants. These may include, both diameters of PM (PM10, PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, ozone and carbon monoxide. But if figures are not available for all six, a level can still be calculated by using what information there is. It can then be used as a metric when comparing one city with another, anywhere in the world.
The only figure recorded in Piraeus was that for PM2.5 which was 25.7 µg/m³. This figure is more than two and a half times over the acceptable limit of 10 µg/m³ as recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
With air pollution as high as this, the given advice would be to stay indoors as much as possible, closing all doors and windows to prevent the ingress of more polluted air. Those of a sensitive disposition should avoid venturing outside until the air quality improves. If this is unavoidable, then a good quality mask should be worn at all times. There is an app that is available for download from AirVisual which will give you the real air quality in real-time.
Air quality can be very volatile and can therefore change quickly as dictated by atmospheric and meteorological conditions.
On checking the figures from 2020 which were published by IQAir, there were three months that returned “Good” quality air. These were June, September and October. Their respective figures were; 10.2, 11.5 and 11.8 µg/m³. The remaining nine months of the year saw the air quality as being “Moderate” with readings between 12.1 and 35.4 µg/m³. The worst month being January with a 27.8 µg/m³ figure. The best months were May and August when their figures were both 14 µg/m³.
Records for air quality were first kept in 2019 when the average figure was 18.2 µg/m³, the following year of 2020 saw a slight improvement when that figure was 16.0 µg/m³. This latest reading may have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as many vehicles were no longer in daily use as staff were encouraged to work from home in an attempt to halt the spread of the virus. Many factories and non-essential production units were also required to close which removed their emissions from the atmosphere.
Port operation, traffic or industrial activities? Whatever the main cause of air pollution in Piraeus, the fact is that it has increased over the last three years and is evenly distributed throughout the city. Research by the National Observatory of Athens will attempt to identify the sources and levels of pollution in the city in an attempt to improve the situation.
Shipping contributes significantly to air pollution, which in turn has harmful effects on human health, the environment and the climate. For many coastal areas and port cities, ships are the most important source of air pollution. However, compared to road transport, few actions have been taken to effectively reduce emissions from maritime transport.
For example, nitrogen dioxide in recent years is approaching high levels, exceeding the annual ceiling. Also, the suspended microparticles (PM10) show a slight increase in relation to the years of crisis, exceeding the annual limit.
Sampling will be done for one year and analyses, in order to clarify the sources of pollution (e.g. from ships, cars, industry, homes). Also, there will be two series of intensive measurements with special equipment, which will give results in real-time, so that the fluctuations of the pollution during the day can also be monitored.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) approved the sulphur ceiling for marine fuels at 0.5%, which took effect on 1st January 2020. However, this is a five hundred times higher limit than the corresponding standard for land. Thus, ships remain a significant source of toxic air pollution. Therefore, areas with dense maritime traffic such as the Mediterranean Sea are particularly affected by these harmful emissions from ships, such as particulate matter, soot, nitrogen oxides and sulphur oxides. Thanks to the creation of Sulphur Emission Control Areas (SOPs) in the North and Baltic Seas, air quality has improved significantly. Accordingly, similar effective measures should be put in place in the Mediterranean to reduce air pollution from ships.
The air around us is necessary for the breath, on which we base our existence. Air quality is directly related to its content in air pollutants that are harmful to humans and have a negative impact on the environment. Air pollution can lead to respiratory problems, worsen the health of people suffering from cardiorespiratory diseases and allergies, and have adverse effects on the human body at the neurological, reproductive, and developmental levels. This is especially true for the "vulnerable" population, such as children, the elderly, pregnant women, those suffering from respiratory/cardiovascular problems and those with weakened immune systems. Also, people who work in the countryside, and especially those involved in high-intensity physical activity (sports), may be particularly sensitive to increased concentrations of pollutants in the atmosphere.
Particulate matter (PM) is the air pollutant that causes the greatest damage to human health in Europe. Think of it as being so light that it can float in the air. Some of these particles are so small (one-thirtieth to one-fifth the diameter of a human hair) that they not only penetrate deep into our lungs, but also pass into the bloodstream, just like oxygen.
A recent study by the World Health Organisation (WHO) shows that pollution from very small particles (PM2.5, may pose a greater health risk than appreciated. According to the WHO "Review of data on the effects of air pollution on health", long-term exposure to very small particles can cause atherosclerosis, adverse birth outcomes and respiratory diseases in children. The study also suggests a possible link between neurodevelopment, cognitive function and diabetes, and reinforces the causal link between PM2.5 and deaths due to cardiovascular and respiratory problems.