Air pollution campaign aims to raise French awareness

This system will not only measure pollution; it will also seek to raise the population’s awareness over the air quality levels

France is to measure 90 air polluting substances and pesticides from 2018 onwards, in a bid to raise the public’s awareness of the quality of the air.

A new agreement to monitor levels of pollutants, pesticides and fine particles in the air has been signed between air quality surveillance organisation Atmo France and the national food and environment safety agency Anses, reports French newspaper Le Monde.

This system will not only measure; it will also seek to raise the population’s awareness over these levels, and could, in future, provide the basis for a national warning system in the event of very high levels of pollutants or particles.

The partnership will last one year and monitor 90 substances that have been deemed to be high priority, due to their effect on the air and the danger they are thought to pose to health.

It will also work with air pollution groups such as Airparif, Air Paca and Air Breizh, and help them put an experimental national campaign in place to regulate pesticides in the air, and monitor - and eventually legislate against, if necessary - many more such pollutants than is the current norm.

Today, only four pollutants are regulated and required to be monitored daily: fine particles (PM10, smaller than 10ųm), nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, and the ozone.

The campaign forms part of France’s national plan to reduce polluting atmospheric emissions over the 2017-2021 period, and aims to reduce the amount of pesticides in the air overall.

It will seek to make monitoring of many more pollutants compulsory, as this is currently done on a largely voluntary basis across the country.

This campaign will also allow the groups to “evaluate the general public’s chronic exposure to associated health risks,” said Anses, in a statement.

It will also help “in the absence of specific regulations, to know the levels of contamination in the ambient air”, and to create “thresholds of health alerts” of pollutant levels in residential areas, to potentially allow residents to receive warnings if necessary.

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