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Environment Minister announces 3.17 ml euro project to expand National Air Quality Monitoring Network

Inquam Photos - George Călin
Inquam Costel Alexe

As many as 60 new monitoring stations will add to the National Air Quality Monitoring Network in an investment worth 3.17 million euros, Minister of Environment, Waters and Forests Costel Alexe told a press conference on Tuesday.

"The measures taken by local authorities often fail to offset pollution. This is why air pollution acts everywhere in Europe, but also in our country, and especially in big cities, as a silent pandemic. After many years of waiting, we are today able to announce you that we are making the largest investment in air quality monitoring in Romania in the past decade. We are preparing and we will upload this week the tender requirements for the expansion of the National Air Quality Monitoring Network by more than 60 new stations that will measure air parameters all over the country. As you know, the network currently has 148 stations in operation nationwide, and by expanding it we will increase by 40 percent the air pollutants measurement points, bringing it to 208 air quality monitoring stations nationwide. The Ministry's total investment in the modernization of the National Air Quality Monitoring Network is 3.17 million euros, of which 2.17 million euros come from the Administration of the Environmental Fund, and one million euros are European funding provided through the Large Infrastructure Operational Program, more precisely 5 million lei," Alexe said.

The official also announced that the tender for the development of a network of 50 air quality measuring sensors will also be launched this week.

"We are the first environmental authority in Europe that will manage its own sensor network, and we want to do this because we see independent sensor networks developing at national level and in Romania's big cities, and we want to do this precisely to come to the support of independent sensor networks, so that they are able to calibrate their networks to our air quality monitoring stations, the only certified and approved by the European Commission and which provide the EC with data based on which national statistical reports are produced," he said.

Alexe specified that 30 of the stations that will add to the National Air Quality Monitoring Network will be analyzer stations that will strictly measure particulate matter PM10 and PM 2.5 and will provide information on the real-time concentrations for each separate hour, while the other 30 stations will be sampling ones.

"This type of equipment continuously measures all the pollutants over 24 hours in order to determine the average of the day. This is how we get the number of days with per year exceedances for various pollutants, and we also report this data to the European Commission," Costel Alexe said.

He also mentioned that 65 percent of the new stations will be installed in Bucharest and will be of both types, which is just normal considering that there is a conviction at the European Court of Justice for PM10 overruns in Bucharest. There is also an infringement procedure ongoing for Nox emissions in Bucharest and in another four urban centers, the Environment Minister said.

Bucharest's air quality monitoring network will be expanded with 27 new stations, 12 of which will be traffic stations, 12 will be urban background monitoring stations and three - installed in Bragadiru, Chiajna şi Pajura - will continuously monitor the air quality over 24 hours and will determine daily averages.

The air quality in Bucharest is currently measured by eight stations that continuously record pollutant levels for 24 hours in order to establish the average of the day.

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