In Toulouse and Haute-Garonne, the air is less polluted than before the Covid… but is still not terrible!
By Thibaut Calatayud
The air we breathe Toulouse is it healthy enough? Friday, June 24, 2022, ATMO Occitanie unveiled its annual report on the air quality in Haute-Garonne. And all is not perfect…
15 stations studied for a year
For its study, ATMO observed, in 2021, the results of around fifteen stations broadcast throughout the Haut-Garonne region: in town, in rural areas, near industrial areas, on the ring road, etc.
Nitrogen dioxide: down from the pre-Covid era but…
About the nitrogen dioxide (it is emitted in particular by road traffic and heating), ATMO indicates that “the population exposed in 2021 is higher than in 2020, due to a slight increase in concentrations along certain roads near areas of dwelling”. A logical explanation given the context of 2020, the year in which the Covid had paralyzed most travel.
It is therefore more relevant to compare 2021 to the pre-Covid period. Thus, we discover that the concentrations of nitrogen dioxide are down compared to the years 2017-2019. Same for nitrogen. This remains stable for particles.
… nothing to jump to the ceiling
But there is not necessarily something to gargle with… And for good reason, ATMO indicates that the concentration of nitrogen dioxide exceeds the limit value for the protection of human health on the Toulouse ring road station. On the territory of Toulouse Métropole, between 1,550 and 2,500 people are exposed to this overrun.
“The quality objectives are not respected for fine particles in certain sectors and, for ozone, a major part of the population remains exposed (1,281,300 people estimate the ATMO, editor’s note),” the study adds.
Four episodes of pollution linked to the sand of the Sahara
The year 2021 was marked by 10 episodes of pollution in Haute-Garonne. All are related to suspended particles. Four of them were awarded by a natural contribution of desert dust.
“The presence of an air mass loaded with desert particles (Saharan dust) combined with local particle emissions (wood heating and burning) have led to an increase in particle concentrations in these departments. The current meteorological conditions are not favorable for a good dispersion of particles in the ambient air”, explained ATMO in March 2021.
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