January 27, 2023

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Smog: Citizen Scientists wanted to map the nitrogen dioxide in Rome and Milan

Smog and traffic in Milan, January 19, 2021. ANSA / PAOLO SALMOIRAGO

There are hundreds of participants New edition of the participatory science campaign “Save the Air: No2 No Thanks” to Citizens of the airwhich will be held in urban areas in Rome And the Milan And in the conglomerate north of the latter From February 4th to March 4th. During these four weeks, citizens who have reserved a negative sample, which is a small reliable nitrogen dioxide measuring tool, will be able to contribute to the survey It reveals point by point concentrations of this pollutant in the municipalities of the two largest metropolitan areasin an accurate and large-scale manner, allowing researchers to develop diffusion maps, discover hot spots, estimate the health impact of this pollutant in our urban areas, and, last but not least, evaluate the measures needed to reduce its concentrations.

And it will be the same “citizen scientists,” the environmental society explains, who will choose whether or not to monitor nitrogen dioxide In front of the house, in front of the children’s school or kindergarten, at the workplace, in city parksAnd placing the small sampler on the street at a height of 2.50 / 3 meters above the ground in order to obtain uniform detection at all pollutant collection points.

Citizens for the Air invites parents to participate in the project by monitoring the areas outside the schools To highlight the need to establish as soon as possible School streets About schools that keep children safe and reduce pollution around schools.

The new edition of the Participatory Science Campaign, which will also allow Check the direction of the concentrations thanks to the citizens who will place their samples at the points already spotted during the previous editionsResidents of Milan, Rome and their metropolitan cities can participate (RomeAnd the Milan) as well as the municipalities of which it is partmetropolitan agglomeration of Milan.

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The novelty of the 2023 edition It is possible for participants to become NO2 monitors, if they are adults Volunteers in an epidemiological study Who will be the target of the investigation? How does NO2 air pollution affect mental health. Participatory Science Campaign participants who will volunteer in this part of the study and who will be selected by the researchers will have to answer a short online quiz every day for a week that will allow the researchers to evaluate Whether there is an association between daily citywide air pollution exposure and daily changes in attention, information processing speed, mood, stress level, and sleep quality. A pilot project, the first of its kind in Italy, that will be able to help clarify the impact of the pollution that envelops our cities on our mental health.

But this is not the only news: the 2023 edition of Salviamo l’aria: NO2 NO Grazie will also indicate About the comprehensiveness of the project, and activating media meetings with citizen scientiststo inform them of the effects of NO2 on human health and to involve them in the epidemiological study that will follow.

The project, now in its fourth edition, expects participants book Passive NO2 sampler By January 15th 2023. The cost of participation which includes the sampler is 18 €, which drops to 15 € for associations and 10 euros for youth under the age of 25. The samples will arrive at the collection points at the end of January and will be placed for sampling to begin on the 4th of February. At the end of the observation period, citizens will have to return the samples, which will be sent to the analysis laboratory.

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Based on the results, the association and the citizens will be able to Demand a tangible change in policyBecause breathing clean air is a fundamental right to our health and well-being.

NO2 is a gaseous pollutant, which mainly arise from the combustion of diesel vehicles, and are associated with a serious impact on human health. Exposure to nitrogen dioxide is associated with an increased incidence of lung cancer, heart and respiratory disease, strokes, heart attacks, and asthma. For children, according to the now standardized literature, even short-term exposure It leads to pathological inflammatory conditions Airways, hospitalization, crises, onset of asthma and bronchiolitis as well as neurological effects that determine Impaired cognitive functions.

More disturbing effect in light The population density of the two urban areas concerned Which, not only does not exceed the legal limit of nitrogen dioxide 40 µg/m3 until recently condemned by the European Court of Justice (Referee CGEU C-573/2019 commission versus the Italian Republic), but have on average concentrations 4 times higher than the indicated limit Guidelines World Health Organization to protect human health. Attend the NO2 Moreover, it is not only harmful in itself, but also commonly associated with black carbon (BC) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), which are pollutants that are carcinogenic to humans and are mainly derived in the city from traffic emissions.