Air Quality Measurements on New Year’ s Eve 2019 / 2020
On New Year’ s Eve 2019-12-31 and New Year 2020-01-01 we set up a particulate matter sensor to monitor air quality in in the ‘Keizer Karelpark Oost’ district in the centre of Amstelveen, The Netherlands to measure the effect of fireworks to the local air quality.
Beside temperature and humidity we measured PM2.5 as well as the Small discrete mass of solid or liquid matter. fractions >0.3μm, >0.5μm, >1.0μm, >2.5μm, 5.0μm and >10μm.
PM2.5 in the air peaked around 0:40 am with a concentration of 290μm/m³. That is almost 12 times higher than the annual mean of 25 μg/m³ listed in the EU Directive 2008/50/EC, as well as the daily mean of 25 μg/m³ as recommended by the WHO.
2020 is here, and while the smoke has disappeared into thin air after the New Year’s Eve celebrations, it’s time for us to take a look at the results of the air quality measurements we ran.
This time, the Dutch spent some €77m on fireworks for the 2019/2020 New Year festivities. Beside the resulting damage to private homes and cars and almost 1300 firework-related injuries, air quality is drastically decreasing during this event.
But why is fine dust so harmful for us?
Epidemiological studies show that high concentrations of fine dust in the ambient air are associated with:
- health consequences, such as damage to the heart- and vein system as well as the breathing system, and with
- increased morbidity and mortality.
The smaller the particles are, the deeper they get into our body.
- In general, particles > 10μm stay in throat and nose;
- particles with a size range of 2.5 μm – 10 μm reach the upper respiratory tract (trachea) and can no longer be exhaled
- particles < 2.5 μm reach the lower respiratory tract (lungs)
- particles < 1 μm reach the alveoli
- and ultrafine particles (UFP, also known as nano particles), < 0.1 μm can enter the blood stream and reach the whole body.
We set up a particulate matter sensor to monitor air quality in in the Keizer Karelpark Oost district in the centre of Amstelveen, The Netherlands to measure the effect of fireworks to the local air quality. Amstelveen borders Amsterdam to the north and Amsterdam Schiphol Airport to the west (Figure 1).
With our setup we measured PM2.5 as well as the Small discrete mass of solid or liquid matter. fractions >0.3μm, >0.5μm, >1.0μm, >2.5μm, 5.0μm and >10μm to get an idea of the fireworks Small discrete mass of solid or liquid matter. spectrum. The counts of Small discrete mass of solid or liquid matter. fraction >0.3μm we like to use as indication for UFP. The weather conditions were not optimal with an average relative humidity of 80% and visible fog, as well as almost no wind, it was predictable that high PM concentrations will remain long in the air.
We installed the monitor at 2019-12-31 15:30 on a balcony facing a street. The measurements had to be stopped 2020-01-01 11:30 for technical reasons.
Parallel to these measurements we had an indoor air quality monitor in our office in another district of Amstelveen. Please have a look here to see the stunning results.
As it can be see in Figure 2, PM2.5 concentrations started low with around 3μg/m³, which is equal to a very good air quality. At around 19:00 pm and 20:00 pm the first sharp concentration peaks appear. Neighbors with their small kids were starting fireworks in the street in front of the house. As result, the overall dust concentration rose up to 50 – 100μ m³. From midnight on fireworks were fired in waves all over the city. With a first wave at midnight, a second wave around 01:00 am and a third one between 02:00 am and 03:00 am. Because of the weather conditions – the fog got thicker and wind stopped at all – the dust concentrations could not disperse and stayed for long time and remained above 50 μg/m³ until the afternoon of January 1st.
In Figure 3 the hourly mean of PM2.5 concentrations are shown. The dashed line represents the mean of the whole measurement time and is 84 μg/m³, which is almost 3.5 times higher than the WHO recommended daily average of 25 μg/m³!
Figure 4 shows the Small discrete mass of solid or liquid matter. counts per 0.1 cubic foot (2.83L) of the size fractions >0.3μm, >0.5μm, >1.0μm, >2.5μm, 5.0μm and >10μm. The Min, Max and Mean for each fraction are listed in Table 1. Particles with a diameter > 2.5 μm only count for less than 1% of the total.
As a result, 99% of the fireworks particles reach the lungs with every breath we take and more than 95% get into the alveoli!
Do you need indoor or ambient dust measurements or a complete indoor air quality assessment? Don’t hesitate to contact us!
Phone: +31 (0)85 200 7150