Vehicle traffic in the city, the main cause of air pollution

During the confinement, the NO2 has been reduced by more than 60% thanks mainly to the decrease in urban traffic, which has dropped by about 70%, while the port traffic has dropped by only 26%

The study shows that the effect of port activity on the atmosphere is much lower than that caused by motor vehicle traffic in the city, both in terms of NO2 and PM10

València, June 21st, 2020.- The Port Authority of Valencia (PAV) has carried out a study on the air quality in the Port of Valencia and the city during the state of emergency decreed by the health emergency of the Covid-19, which shows a significant reduction in the levels of Nitrogen Oxide (NO2) and PM10 particles due to the drop in vehicle traffic in the city, which has been reduced by around 70% compared to the 26% drop in the port. According to the report, the effect of port activity on the atmosphere is much lower than that caused by motor vehicle traffic in the city, both in NO2 and PM10, as the Port has continued to maintain its work.

For the purposes of this report, Valenciaport has analysed the air quality data recorded at the APV control stations and those of the city of Valencia (Avda. Francia, Politècnic and Pista de Silla) between 29 April and 18 May 2020 and compared them with the same period in previous years. According to the study’s data, there has been a drastic and widespread reduction in air pollution levels, mainly NO2 and PM10 particles, in all control stations in the municipality of Valencia by an average of 64%.

According to the data from the control stations analysed, NO2 levels have been reduced by 61%, 69% and 71% on average in the meters at the Politécnico, Avda. de Francia and Pista de Silla respectively, while in the Port of Valencia they have fallen by 60%. On this line, PM10 particle emissions have been reduced by 18%, 61% and 77% on average at the Politécnico, Avda. de Francia and Pista de Silla stations, while at the Port of Valencia they have fallen by 62%.

This data reflects that the main cause of air pollution emissions is vehicle traffic in the city, since during this period it decreased on average by 61%, reaching 84% on weekends. On the other hand, during this period the Port’s activity in terms of vehicle traffic and ship mooring has fallen by 26% and 28% respectively, so it can be seen that the effect of port activity on the atmosphere is much lower than that generated by vehicles in the city, the main cause of air pollution emissions.

Sulfur dioxide 

With regard to sulphur dioxide (SO2), measurements at the stations in the Port of Valencia and the city during this period show very low average values (between 2 and 5 µg/m3 ) in relation to the daily limit value allowed in the regulations for this parameter (125 µg/m3 ). According to the PAV report, SO2 emissions have been practically unaffected by the reduction in land and ship traffic.