Air Quality Italy Term Paper

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Air Quality Italy

Globalization is beginning to put its mark on the environment at a global scale. More and more countries and regions in the world are facing increased levels of pollution due to the irresponsible development of industries and areas which represent high sources of pollution. At the global level action is being taken especially through the Kyoto Protocol to reduce these effects. Nonetheless, the situation is according to specialists out of control and increased measures must be taken in order to reduce the potentially irreversible effects of the industrial pressure that is affecting the global environment.

Pollution appears to be a "disease" of the poor countries or of the countries which are unable to invest in green industries. Some of the most important polluters in the world are China, India, or Canada which face tough sanctions at least at the diplomatic level concerning the massive pollution rates. Nonetheless, Europe cannot be considered to be a negligible source of pollution. The European Union, although is oriented more to the preservation of the environment, experiences high rates of pollution. However, these are not necessarily manifested at a global scale, but rather they affect the living conditions of the Europeans.

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Italy is in this sense an important example. According to some sources, "By mid-May (2007), Milan had already exceeded European Union and World Health Organization limits for particle pollution in the air on 80 days. Last year was bad, too. By the end of March, Milan had 64 such days, Turin had 77, Bologna 51 and Venice 49" (Rosenthal, 2007).

Term Paper on Air Quality Italy Assignment

Despite the fact that it benefits from a high tech industry and modern technology, it is also a high polluter. In order to properly assess the situation in the country, it is important to have in mind several questions. Thus, one should look at the sources of pollution in the country, at the transport of pollution, the level of the phenomenon, as well as the effect it has on the population. There have been made serious attempts to try to cut down on the level of pollution in Europe; therefore, it is important to consider as well the regulations imposed by the EU and the national states in this sense as well.

Sources of pollution in Italy

There are several definitions for the term pollution. In this sense the Tenth Report of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution considered pollution to be "the introduction by man into the environment of substances or energy liable to cause hazard to human health, harm to living resources and ecological systems, damage to structure or amenity or interference with legitimate use of the environment" (Colls, 2002, 1). Due to the broadness of the definition it can be said that there are several types of pollution. In this sense there is air, water, land, noise, radioactive, and thermal pollution. Still, concerning Italy, there are studies being made which consider that Italy is suffering from light pollution as well.

Air pollution is however seen as the most important source of pollution in Italy. From this point-of-view, "a continued rise in emission levels from the transport sector presents an ongoing air pollution challenge to Italian policy-makers, particularly in the face of increasing passenger and freight traffic (an increase of 132% between 1970 and 1991, which is among the highest found in the industrialized nations)" (Corrosion in Italy, n.d.).

One of the main causes for pollution in Italian cities is urban pollution. In this sense, studies point out the fact that "Italy has one of the highest concentrations of motorized transport in Europe and is seriously threatened by problems of atmospheric pollution linked to transport: many regions and towns have been declared as areas at risk. Since 1987, Naples and its province have been classified by the Ministry of the Environment as an "environmental high-risk zone" (Energy Agency of Municipality of Naples, 2001). Therefore, it can be said that in terms of the main areas of pollution, these include the major cities.

It is rather hard not to consider the immediate caused of air pollution in urban areas. These come from the industrial centers in particular. Given the high costs of production, few industrial sites are actually aware of the damage they tend to cause to the environment. At the same time, the fact that they cannot or are unwilling to invest in technology which is protective to the environment only increases the level of pollution in the cities.

Another major cause for air pollution in Italy is the road transportation. Due to the fact that Italy is a densely populated country, the travel by car inside the cities as well as outside them is very important and in some aspects crucial. In some areas for instance there is no other possibility than that of car transportation. Therefore, given the fact that car pollution is one of the main factors of pollution, it is rather natural that Italy has one of the biggest pollution rates in Europe.

The disposal of hazardous waste is yet another reason for the pollution in Italy. Indeed, it is not directly related to air pollution, rather to soil pollution. Still, due to the increased exchanges in the natural habit, these can become relevant for air pollution as well. In this sense, following intense research at the middle of the last decade in Italy, "three main geographic patterns of metal concentration in mosses could be defined: (1) Fe, Ni, and Cr, all derived both by soil particulates and anthropogenic emissions connected with ferrous metal manufacturing, were mostly concentrated in Northwestern Italy; (2) Cu and Zn, as typical multi-source elements, showed rather high concentrations with little ranges of variation over the whole area and small peaks reflecting local source points; (3) Cd and Pb reflected long-distance transport and showed highest concentrations in the regions with highest precipitation, especially in the Eastern Alps" (Gerdol et al., n.d.). Therefore, aside from the obvious implications pollution has for the environment at large, it can be pointed out that even in areas considered to be pure pollution is spreading.

The transport of pollution

Air pollution can easily be transported. It relates to the movement of currents, to wind, and other natural phenomena. This can be very visible in Italy because the level of pollution in some areas is greatly dependent on the natural conditions in the country. In this sense, concerning the city of Milan, "it is typical with its radial pattern of long, narrow streets and with massed buildings towards the city centre. The climate of the Po valley is characterized by rather frequent occurrence of thermal inversions. For this reason atmospheric pollution is more severe in Milan than in other Italian towns (...) the S02 concentrations detected in this city correspond to the period December 1963 - January 1964 and are the highest reported in recent years; this was during a period of thermal inversion with intense and prolonged fog and no wind" (Grosso and Frangipane, n.d.). The study cited presents the impact weather had on Milan during the period mentioned in a table that is most representative for the way in which weather affects pollution or the level of pollution. It pointed out the fact that the lack of wind or atmospheric movement is affecting the way in which pollution is either being moved or reduced.

Pollution can also be transported through the air in buildings of different kind. More precisely, it has been noticed that the air in the rooms of the hospitals or different other buildings can be influenced by the lack of ventilation in the sense that the air circulates from the outdoor environment and can pollute indoor air through a poor ventilation or clearing system which cannot purify the air indoor. This is important because it offers a perspective on the way in which pollution tends to affect even people conducting more indoor activities.

The level of pollution in Italy

The level of air pollution in Italy is considered to be one of the highest in the European Union and the country has been facing these issues since the late 60s when pollution became a subject for serious concern not only among the politicians but also in the hearts and minds of the individuals. It is rather difficult to assess the degree to which pollution can be properly measured because of the different set of factors which play a part in establishing the level of pollution. Nonetheless, it can be pointed out the fact that during the winter of 2006 "Exceedances of EU legislation thresholds were found to change significantly from year to year, and the relative contributions of meteorological variability and emission reduction policies have been discussed" (Minguzzi et al., n.d.). Therefore, despite the fact that there can be no actual determination of the level of pollution in Italy due to the various circumstances surrounding the situation, it is fair to say that the situation is worrisome.

There are still several means through which pollution can be measured. In this sense, in… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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