I was in Rio (near Patras, Greece, not Rio de Janeiro …) yesterday, standing by the sea with a magnificent view of the Rio-Antirio bridge that connects the Peloponnese Peninsula to the Greek mainland.
A cold, northerly wind had brought very Clean Air to the country, which just until a few hours before had been living under a blanket of Saharan dust with elevated levels of Particulate Matter PM2,5 and PM10 for a few days. Yet, where I was standing by the sea, it smelled of Wood Smoke. Not much, but it was there, unmistakable.
How could this be? I opened the Purple Air website, and there it was, a red dot close to where I was!
All around the city of Patras and Rio the dots were green. There was just the one red dot near me.
This is a very good example that shows how Air Pollution is often a very localized phenomenon. Just one house with a lit wood stove or fireplace is enough to create uncomfortable situations to the neighbours. Imagine if these neighbours had the knowledge given by a simple Air Quality monitor like Purple Air and its map feature, and understood that they are the unlucky ones to be in the wrong place of the whole region. Because they could’t open the windows yesterday, while all other around them in Patras could. I would have felt very unlucky if I was them.
This little anecdote is just to remind us that Wood stoves and fireplaces are a thing of the past. This is now clear because they create all sort of health problems and I bet that within the next decade they will be gone from our homes.