• Project helps to clean up air quality monitoring in European cities   

Environmental Laboratory

Project helps to clean up air quality monitoring in European cities   

Oct 25 2021

European Commission funded project, RI-URBANS, has been officially launched with the aim to provide advanced service tools from atmospheric research infrastructures to better assess the air quality in Europe. 

Coordinated by the Spanish Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research (IDAEA-CSIC) and the University of Helsinki (UHEL), and led by Xavier Querol (IDAEA-CSIC) and Tuukka Petäjä (UHEL), RI-URBANS brings together 11 cities and 28 partners across Europe in its objective of implementing advanced air quality monitoring observations in cities and industrial hotspots.

Researcher and RI-URBANS coordinator Xavier Querol commented: “This is a golden opportunity to apply advanced air quality research to assess the health effects of air pollution and to develop cost effective policies to reduce it, not only for the conventional air pollutants but also for non-regulated ones.”

To pursue its strategy, RI-URBANS (Research Infrastructures Services Reinforcing Air Quality Monitoring Capacities in European Urban & Industrial AreaS) will focus on ambient nanoparticles and atmospheric particulate matter, their sizes, constituents, source contributions, and gaseous precursors, evaluating novel air quality parameters, source contributions, and their associated health effects to demonstrate the European added value of implementing such service tools. 

RI-URBANS coordinator Professor Tuukka Petäjä said: “The project brings together local air quality monitoring networks and European Research infrastructures on atmospheric composition (ACTRIS and IAGOS). This allows two-way interaction to develop and pilot novel service tools and harmonize data streams in real city environments with a pan-European coverage.” 

RI-URBANS will also improve modelling and emission inventories for policy assessment and will implement five pilots in nine cities - Athens, Barcelona, Birmingham, Bucharest, Helsinki, Milano, Paris, Rotterdam-Amsterdam, Zurich. It will demonstrate these solutions for advanced air quality monitoring systems and evaluation of human exposure.

University of Birmingham Principal Investigator, Professor Roy Harrison commented: “Air pollution is the biggest environmental threat to public health, and participation in RI-URBANS will ensure that the UK, and especially Birmingham, stay at the forefront of air quality management.”


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