At the moment virtually everyone is affected by the Corona Pandemic. If it gets really bad, we know infected people in our social environment. We would like to take this opportunity to wish every person affected by the virus strength and all the best.
But all other citizens in Europe are also affected to a greater or lesser extent by the measures taken by their respective governments. Schools and kindergartens remain closed, those who can, work in their home offices. In some countries or communities, curfews are even imposed to minimize social contact and reduce the possibility of Sars-CoV-2 transmission.
These measures have an impact on daily road and air traffic as well as on industrial production sites. There is less commuting, flights are cancelled and air traffic has almost come to a standstill, while production in factories is reduced or even stopped altogether.
However, the mainly negative effects of this exceptional situation offer scientists and companies, who are engaged in the study of air pollution and its effects on people and the environment, the unique opportunity to carry out zero measurements of different pollutants in the air.
At Aristoteles Consulting we take the chance of this situation to carry out indicative fine dust measurements at several locations in our city district where our headquarters are located. These measurements are carried out both at known hot spots (street intersections and motorways) and at background points (parks). We will use the measurement results as a zero measurement for comparison in future measurements.
Where do we measure?
Measurements are taken at 18 locations in the Keizer Karelpark Oost district in the centre of Amstelveen.
Amstelveen borders Amsterdam to the north and Amsterdam Schiphol Airport to the west. With 71 million passengers, Schiphol was Europe’s third busiest airport in 2018, after Heathrow (London) and Charles de Gaulle (Paris). The district borders to the north on the normally busy A9 motorway, one of the main routes to the airport.
Currently (as of spring 2020) work is underway in the east on the renewal of the Amstelveenlijn, an urban railway that crosses Amstelveen from north to south and connects the city with Amsterdam.
When do we measure?
We performed the first measurements on Friday, 2020-03-20. At that time schools and other public institutions had been closed for a week and many citizens took advantage of the opportunity to work in their home offices. Construction work such as that on the above-mentioned Amstelveenlijn continues. The weather was sunny, with temperatures ranging from 7 °C to 9 °C and a relative humidity of 75%. The wind had an average speed of 30 km/h with gusts of up to 60 km/h.
The following measurements were performed on Sunday, 2020-03-22. On that day, there was hardly any air traffic or road traffic during the measurement period, and no construction work. There were also almost no pedestrians or cyclists. Here the weather was also sunny, with temperatures of 3°C to 6°C and a relative humidity of 55%. The wind was weak, with an average speed of 5 km/h from ENE with occasional gusts of up to 20 km/h. – Ideal conditions for zero measurements! Further measurements will follow at regular intervals.
The most recent measurements were carried out on Sunday, 2020-03-29. On that day, there was hardly any air traffic or road traffic during the measurement period, and no construction work. There were also almost no pedestrians or cyclists on the road. The weather was slightly cloudy, with temperatures between 7 °C and 9 °C and a relative humidity of 50%. The wind was strong with an average speed of 40 km/h from NE with many gusts up to 80 km/h.
Project is ongoing!
Measurement results are shown in the following table and figures. The European Air Quality Index of the European Environment Agency is used as the colour code for the measuring ranges.
It can be clearly seen that the exceptional circumstances on 2020-03-22 led to very low levels of particulate matter in the air. The AQI for PM2.5 and PM10 is consistently good. On 2020-03-29 the particulate matter levels were all higher and the AQI for PM2.5 was Fair, subordinate Good; the AQI for PM10 was Fair to subordinate Moderate. On 2020-03-20 the measured concentrations were highest. The AQI for PM2.5 was Fair, subordinate Moderate, while AQI PM10 was predominantly Moderate, Fair at three measurement points and Poor at three further measurement points. The higher PM10 concentrations can be attributed to the above-mentioned construction sites, from which dust was stirred up and carried away by the wind into our neighbourhood.
Further measurements will follow at regular intervals.
When the general situation with road and air traffic has returned to normal, we will be able to compare the data with those now measured.