5.1 C
December 8, 2022

Air pollution linked to 1,000 deaths in Bucharest, study reveals

Controversy over hole in ozone layer moving above Europe.

Over 800 of Bucharest residents who died between 2004 and 2009 could have been saved, had the annual average of some air pollutants been maintained in the Romanian capital within the limits set by the World Health Organization (WHO), according to a study conducted by the Ecopolis Centre for Sustainable Policies.

According to the study, “227 of the children in their first year of life could have been saved,” if the annual average in Bucharest of the pollutant factor PM 10 suspension powder had stood at 20 micro-metres/cubic metre, as WHO recommends, Mediafax reports citing the study. According to the study, had those standards been observed, nearly 300 Bucharesters of those admitted to hospital with respiratory problems in 2009 alone, could have avoided hospitalization, which would have saved the health system RON 400,000.

The research monitored air quality in Bucharest throughout 2010, on the basis of data collected from eight monitoring stations of six polluting factors. Their examination after the one-year monitoring showed suspension powders PM10 and PM2.5, both of which are forms of “dust’ actually, which only differ in particle length. Values five times the maximum-accepted WHO and EU standards have been found for PM10, and six-time higher for PM2.5 respectively.

The Representatives of the National Environment Squad cited by Green Report website announced yesterday that the European Commission launched the infringement procedures for five areas in Romania for air pollution: Galati, Timisoara, Craiova, Cluj and the Northern region. The Environment Ministry was unable to confirm the information last night when contacted by Nine O’clock.

radiation scare

German experts warn that the hole in the ozone layer above the North Pole will travel over Romania too, engaging a high level of radiations and, implicitly, posing a danger to human health. According to Germany’s Institute of Polar and Marine Research, despite this phenomenon taking place every cold season, the depletion in the ozone layer in the Arctic is more pronounced than ever.

In other words, on clear sky days, solar radiations will be more powerful, very much like during early summer. The UV index will be bellow 4-5, compared to over 7-8 on torrid summer days, Realitatea TV reports.

As if that wasn’ t enough bad news, Markus Rex, a researcher at the Institute of Polar Research, holds that the previous prognosis was dated March 14, and developments look a bit different know. This means the rarefied ozone layer will move across Romania in the upcoming weeks, and not just for today and tomorrow, as previously announced. “The ozone loss is getting worse by the day. This hole is likely to stay as it is for the next 10-14 days,” “Gandul” daily newspaper quoted Markus Rex, the researcher monitoring the hole’s move, as saying.

Meteorologists however, alleviate the fears anything of the kind would happen. “Speaking of the ozone depletion in the space above Romania, no such problems will be the case. We speak of a radiation index of 1-4 and 1-5.5 in the southern part of the Scandinavian peninsula, which means, there’s no danger practically,” Viorica Dima, a meteorologist at the national Administration of Meteorology (ANM) said. Weather experts say we shouldn’t worry about the masses of air coming from Japan to cross Romania in the upcoming days. No protection measures therefore are called for. “The masses of air coming from Japan and crossing Europe (Romania), in the upcoming days contain no significant levels of radioactive pollutants,” Realitatea TV quoted an ANM release as saying.

Gier Braathen, one of the heads at the World Meteorological Organization, nonetheless contradicts the view held by Romanian weather experts over the danger posed by the thinning of the ozone layer. “People should remain vigilant given the thinning of the ozone layer. (…) You can get protection by informing yourselves, wearing a broad-brimmed hat and applying UV protection ointments on your face. It is important not to stay many hours outdoors,” “Gandul” cited Braathen as saying. For his part, Mircea Dutu, president of the Ecological University in Bucharest, said he could not share the meteorologists’ certainty such danger is nil, given 16 institutes from eight countries and 30 ozone measuring stations have been involved in this action, showing a 50 per cent reduction in the ozone layer. Doctors say people should take care during this period, with the old and the children being the most exposed to the danger of radiations.

Meteorologists sooth experts’ fears high level of radiations could have a highly damaging effect on human health.

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