Three monitoring tools:
The air quality monitoring is based on 3 complementary tools:
- Monitoring sites analyse either air pollution far from the traffic or along the traffic. Click here to see the Airparif's station network.
- Monitoring campaigns by mobile analytical laboratories equipped with chemical captors. These laboratories assess the impact of a structure, the individual pollution exposure or air pollutants which are not yet regulated (dioxins, pesticides…) but could have negative impact on health or the environement.
- Modelling tools to establish pollution maps, daily pollution forecasts as well as its evolution hour by hour, to describe annual levels along the traffic or to assess the potential impact of pollution reduction regulatory measures on future air quality.
The main air pollutants are classified into two distinct large families: primary pollutants and secondary pollutants.
Primary pollutants are directly emitted by the sources of pollution (traffic, industry, heating, agriculture...). They consist of:
• Carbon oxides.
• Sulphur oxides.
• Nitrogen oxides.
• Volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
• Particulate matters (PM10 and PM2.5).
• Metals (lead, mercury, cadmium...).
However, secondary pollutants are not directly emitted in the atmosphere but come from chemical reactions between gases such as:
• Nitrogen dioxide.
• Sulphur dioxide.
• And with other secondary particles.
Some pollutant like the nitrogen dioxide or the particulate matter can be either primary or secondary pollutants.
Among the sixty pollutants assessed by Airparif, only fifteen are regulated for their effects on human health and environment.
For more than 10 years, Airparif has been carried out an inventory of emissions both for pollutants and for major greenhouse gases in order to understand the geographic distribution of these emissions and their evolution in time as well as the representativeness of each sources. This emission inventory are the data entry of many modelling tools.
The emissions inventory is a valuable tool to identify sources of pollutants which actions would be most effective and test case scenarios taking into account these two issues.
3 major sources
The three major sources of the Ile-de-France emissions, for both air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions are:
• The residential and tertiary sector, due to the heating.
These three sectors represent nearly 95% of CO2 emissions.
These pollutants have widely documented effects:
• on human health (long and/or short time effects. Mainly cardiorespiratory problems).
• on the global and local environment (river acidification and eutrophication in some European regions, ozone impact on crop yields, acid rains).
• on buildings (blackening and encrustation).
These effects can be local or at the European scale or Global as in the case of ozone and green house gases causing a Global warming.
Ways to reduce your exposure to pollutants
• At home: Ventilate your home regularly in the early morning or late evening, avoiding rush hours when outdoor pollution is higher, and preferably by opening windows overlooking the courtyard rather than the street.
• When walking, you should choose footpaths , less congested , or broad streets keeping some distance away from the traffic.
• When exercising, avoid strenuous exercise close by busy roads or during pollution episodes.
• By bike, take the facilities that allow you to be away from traffic.
• By car, avoid congested roads if possible. Avoid using your car for short trips (less than 2km) for which the engine has no time to warm up, choose walking, or cycling or public transport instead. Airparif shows that it is inside a car, particularly when behind another vehicle exhaust, that you are the most exposed to traffic pollution.
• During the winter episodes, limit the use of wood heating. (Airparif study on the Origin of airborne articles in Ile-de-France region shows impact of wood heating on air quality. See report.