Air quality assessment

Air quality assessment is conducted based on measurements which are performed continuously (manually or automatically) or periodically, as well as with the use of mathematical methods, including mathematical modelling. The assessment of substances’ level in the air and their changes is being made within the State Environmental Monitoring. Obtained data concerning the concentration is compared to the so-called reference level, which constitutes standards of air quality.

Every year in Poland, the air quality assessment is carried out in terms of its pollution with 12 substances: sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, benzene, and ozone, particulate matter PM 10 i PM2,5 and pollution, which is marked in particulate matter PM10lead, arsenic, cadmium, nickel, and benzoapyrene. With regard to plant protection, 3 substances are assessed: sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and ozone (O3).

Air quality assessment is conducted according to criteria determined in regulations: of the European Parliament and of the Council No. 2008/50/WE of 21 May 2008 on air quality and clean air in Europe, the Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council No. 2004/107/WE of 15 December 2004 on arsenic, cadmium, nickel, mercury and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon in the surrounding air.

The aim of the air quality assessment is to obtain information about the concentration of pollution in a given area, in the so-called zones, in the scope which makes it possible to classify these zones according to specific criteria (with regard to permissible level of substance, target level, long-term target level), which values have been specified in the Regulation of the Minister of Environment of 2012 on the levels of specific substances in the air(Dz.U. z 2012 r. poz. 1031) and Regulations No. 2008/50/EC and 2004/107/EC.

    1. For sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon oxide (CO), benzene (C6H6), particulate matter PM10, particulate matter PM2,5 and lead (Pb) contained in particulate matter PM10 determined levels are permissible. Permissible levels are determined with regards to human health and plant protection, they constitute standards of the air quality and their breaching results in the necessity of preparing and implementing reconstructive programmes.

    2. For ozone (O3), particulate matter PM2,5, heavy metals: arsenic (As), nickel (Ni), cadmium (Cd) and benzoaoyrene, a target level is determined with regards to human health and plant protection.

    3. For ozone (O3) long-term target levels are determined with regard to human health and plant protection.

Elaborated by A. Drzeniecka-Osiadacz