He historical decrease in pollution in Madrid as a consequence of the collapse of mobility due to the crisis of the coronavirus it has been insufficient to comply with the European directive on emissions of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and tropospheric ozone (O3), which would have been the first time since 2010, the year it came into force.
We had to wait until the last day of 2020 to find out if the Plaza Elíptica air quality monitoring station, which always registers the highest levels of NO2 in the municipal network, exceeded 40 micrograms per cubic meter on average. annual, the limit established by European regulations.
In the end, the year ended with 41, according to data from the Madrid City Council Air Quality Service collected by Efe. The decrease has been generalized and the remaining 23 stations of the municipal network have not exceeded this limit.
Plaza Elíptica has been followed by Escuelas Aguirre (35 micrograms per cubic meter), Ramón y Cajal (32 micrograms); and with 31, Plaza de España, Villaverde and Ensanche de Vallecas. Plaza del Carmen has had an average of 29 micrograms.
Further, no station has exceeded the hourly NO2 limit value, which should not be exceeded 18 times a year and is set at 200 micrograms per cubic meter in one hour.
The one that has overcome it the most days has been Ramón y Cajal (six), followed by Plaza Elíptica (five), Barajas Pueblo (one) and Cuatro Caminos (one).
In 2019In the first year that the Madrid Central Low Emission Zone (LEZ) was operational, two measuring stations exceeded the annual limit of 40 micrograms: Plaza Elíptica and Escuelas Aguirre.
And that Central Madrid, launched by the government of Manuela Carmena (Now Madrid), made it possible to reach the lowest levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution of the decade in 2019, said the Ecologists in Action report of that year.
In the city of Madrid, in addition to Plaza Elíptica, where the City Council (currently co-governed by PP and Ciudadanos) plans to launch a low emissions zone this year, has highlighted the fall of NO2 in the Aguirre Schools stations (32% less), Arturo Soria (27% less) and Plaza de Castilla, Barrio del Pilar and Barajas (all three with 25% less).
“They are reductions not known so far from one year to the next,” Juan García Vicente, from Ecologistas en Acción, told EFE.
In confinement the situation improved
Miguel Ángel Ceballos, coordinator of this organization’s report on air quality in cities during the state of alarm, considers that with the confinement the situation “improved substantially”, but “not what is desirable.”
Ceballos already warned in September that much of the usual traffic had recovered and that NO2 and O3 emissions had risen again in the Community of Madrid “above” what was happening in “Catalonia and the rest of the Mediterranean arc”.
For Ecologistas en Acción “the structural problem is still there” and the authorities should undertake “more ambitious measures” to protect the health of Madrid residents.
In summer, ozone pollution decreased throughout Spain (41% according to the environmental report), but to a lesser extent, although for this pollutant the average is three years.
In the measurement network of the city of Madrid, no station in 2020 exceeded the threshold for warning the population by O3 (set at 180 micrograms per cubic meter in one hour), while in the Community only that of Alcalá de Henares surpassed it once.
Despite this data, the best of the decade, 18 stations of the regional network and half a dozen of the municipal one have exceeded the target value of ozone for health protection after exceeding 120 micrograms in an average of eight hours over three years for more than 25 days.
The European Commission has Spain under observation after reporting in 2019 to the Court of Justice of the European Union that Madrid and the metropolitan area of Barcelona have been violating the legal limits for nitrogen dioxide and ozone since 2010.