This post follows the ERT3 video report of 30/12/2020 about the big Air Pollution issue that the citizens of Volos, Thessaly, have to deal with daily.
In Volos there is a project called Green Your Air (www.greenyourair.org) that is collecting data on the Air Pollution of the city and raises awareness about the issue within the population.
The problem of Volos is that near the city is a cement factory that also burns rubbish and as you can imagine, both these activities are highly polluting. As a result, the city suffers from a constant stench of burnt plastic, and both Particulate Matter PM2,5 and toxic gases have very high values. So high that in days of very low Air Quality hospitalizations due to respiratory problems are increased by 25% to 55% compared to better days.
Add to the equation the pollution coming from the massive burning of wood for residential heating, which is a growing and completely uncontrolled plague in Greece, and you see what Volos’ citizens have to endure day after day, especially in winter. See the chart here below as an example.
The problem is really big, and so exemplary of the Greek situation in relation to Air Quality. Authorities play as if there was no problem, basing their grounds on the fact that the only “official” Air Quality monitoring station of the city (that measures only PM10 and not the dangerous PM2,5) shows “good” levels of PM.
In reality, levels recorded by the 12 monitoring stations set up in the city by the Green Your Air project tell a different story, as they record also the dangerous PM2,5. Everyone can access the recorded data here and the calendar with mean daily values here.
The official stations set up by the government around Greece are of old technology, are few and collect insufficient data – in 2021 it is unacceptable that AQ Monitoring Stations don’t even measure PM2,5! If the government bases its official Air Quality reports (published yearly in the European Environment Agency – EEA Air Quality Report of 2019) on the insufficient data collected by this limited network of AQ monitoring stations, it is clear that things look much rosier than they are in reality. And if you read these reports, you can see how much data is actually missing for Greece. No other EU country has such a limited AQ Monitoring System network.
As in all other fields of environmental policy, Greece is again champion in showing how sloppily it does its job at maintaining the country up to European standards. And in the case of Air Pollution, citizens pay for it firsthand, because over 16000 Greeks die per year from health complications due to Air Pollution. That is about 2 people dying every hour due to Air Pollution! That’s is really unacceptable.