Madrid can finally breathe, Source: Unsplash

For the first time, Madrid meets European standards for air quality

For the first time, Madrid meets European standards for air quality

2022 was a good year and the time when the city could proclaim “Madrid can finally breathe”

The Madrid City Council started the year with important and good news – the data on air quality for 2022 showed that the city has finally complied with European standards. The announcement was made by mayor José Luis Martínez-Almeida at a press conference aptly named “Madrid can finally breathe” (Madrid, por fin, respira).

The capital of Spain had violated from 2010 to 2021 the thresholds of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) established in the Annual Limit Value of the 2008 European directive on ambient air quality, whose maximum allowed is set at 40 micrograms per cubic metre.

What’s behind the success?

This result, the mayor stressed, is due to the application of the measures implemented and included in the Madrid 360 Environmental Sustainability Strategy, which has proven to be a "successful model" for reducing polluting emissions. 

Almeida highlighted the keys to the initiatives included in Madrid 360 compared to previous air quality plans: they are global, progressive, and they propose mobility alternatives before implementing restrictions. They also make the improvement of air quality compatible with economic activity. 

24 air quality stations throughout the municipality have registered the lowest NO2 levels since EU regulations were applied. The improvement in air quality translates into a reduction in risks to the health of citizens, especially the most vulnerable groups: the elderly, children and people with respiratory diseases.

NO2 is a compound released during combustion processes. It can cause irritation of eyes, nose and throat and when inhaled might cause lung irritations and decreased lung function. In areas with higher levels of nitrogen dioxide, a greater chance of asthma attacks and an increase in hospital stays because of respiratory complaints are observed.



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