Climate crisis to amplify atmospheric pollution in Greece

A study conducted by Greek scientists and published by Elsevier warns of heightened atmospheric pollution in Greece, driven by the climate crisis, posing risks to public health.

The research, led by Athanasios Nenes, professor at Lausanne Polytechnic School’s Laboratory of Atmospheric Processes and their Impacts (LAPI), in collaboration with the National Technical University of Athens and the Institute of Chemical Engineering Sciences (ICEHT) “Demokritos,” analyzed Athenians’ exposure to African dust and smoke from fires, shedding light on air quality and particle types.

According to Nenes, the study highlights how different inhaled particles possess varying levels of toxicity, affecting health differently. Unlike previous studies that primarily focused on particle mass rather than toxicity, this research takes both factors into account. The study found that during episodes of dust and smoke, the impact on public health is more pronounced when compared to regular pollution levels.

The findings indicate smoke particles in Athens are three times more toxic than dust particles. However, background particles, originating from various sources, such as vehicle emissions and wood burning, were found to be even more toxic. Despite their toxicity, background particles are present in lower concentrations in the atmosphere, providing some relief.

Nenes stressed the need for proactive measures, stating, “Solutions include reducing fire-related pollution, minimizing agricultural waste burning and limiting wood-burning stove usage.” Additionally, he recommended wearing masks during intense pollution episodes and filtering indoor air to mitigate particle inhalation.
As extreme weather events and pollution continue to pose health risks, proactive measures are crucial to safeguard public health.
Source: Ekathimerini.com

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