What is the dirtiest city in Italy
Air pollution : When it comes to smog, Italy is the China of Europe
The health minister in Rome does not want to believe it, but the data from the European Environment Agency are clear: nowhere in Europe does air pollution cost so many lives as it does in Italy. In the country that likes to call itself “il Belpaese”, the “beautiful country”, 84,400 people died of fine dust, nitrogen oxides and ozone in 2012, twenty-three times as many as in road traffic. “Early”, adds the European authority. However one can determine that exactly, the distance to other European countries is clear: Germany ranks second with 72,000 "premature" deaths for the same examination criteria; France (52,600), Great Britain (52,430) and Poland (47,300 deaths) follow.
The most heavily polluted in Italy is the Po Valley with its metropolitan areas and industrial centers from Turin via Milan to Venice. The area, in which over 15 million people live and almost the same number of cars and trucks emit their exhaust gases, is one of the least ventilated regions in Europe due to its geography. The tough winter fog in the lowlands between the mountain ranges of the Alps and the Appennines is notorious; with it and the inversion weather conditions, the smog remains like a lid over the cities for weeks.
Milan had already exceeded the limit values on 31 days in February; the EU allows a maximum of 35 such days - over the course of a whole year. In Turin, November was as dry as it had been in 160 years, and the pollutant limits were continuously exceeded. In Veneto, where the air was worse than allowed at almost all measuring points (92 percent) in 2015, says Luigi Lazzaro, President of the Legambiente environmental association: "With this we are even beating mega-cities like London, Paris and Berlin."
In the country with the highest density of cars in Europe, most of the dirt comes from the exhausts. In Italian cities there are 65 motor vehicles per hundred inhabitants, not counting motorized two-wheelers; that is twice as many as in London, Paris or Berlin. In Naples, where the pollutant limit values were exceeded on 135 days this year, they attribute a major role to the ships stinking in the harbor; elsewhere it is the industrial chimneys and wood heating systems.
Fifteen years ago everything was worse
After all, they say in Milan, everything is far less bad than it was ten or fifteen years ago, when the city had to endure almost three times as many days of illegal pollution as it is today. For 2014, the national statistical office, the Istat, reports a slight relief on the national average. Real, developed improvements - the massive expansion of renewable energies at the expense of oil consumption - play together with the rather unwanted effects of the economic crisis: production restrictions, decline in traffic due to private savings.
The nonetheless constantly polluted Rome is currently trying to get the exhaust fumes under control by driving bans for older cars: "Euro Zero" and "Euro One", as well as diesel of the corresponding generations, are not allowed into the city center for days. Because the Romans don't like that at all, even politicians have so far claimed that much of the fine dust that flies through the air is actually sand from the Sahara, carried across the Mediterranean by the Scirocco. Such phenomena really do exist, but recently they have no longer been used as an excuse: Scientists have developed measuring instruments that can differentiate between sand and exhaust products. And it turns out that the Sahara is as good as innocent. Internal combustion engines driving around on four and two wheels pollute the air twenty-five times as much as they do.
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