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Air Pollution

airquali-graf-1.jpg Air pollution is a broad term applied to any agent (chemical, physical, biological or other) that modifies the natural characteristics of the atmosphere and has an effect in man or the environment. Worldwide air pollution is influencing the quality of life, while in addition is accounted responsible for deaths and various respiratory diseases. Setting of air pollution levels, to regulate air quality, as is the case of related EU regulations, has contributed to levering the negative impacts of air pollution by improving air quality.

This section is currently being modified. There may be disruptions or inaccuracies during the update phase.


 

Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons

Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) are organic compounds which consist of at least two aromatic rings, the rings themselves consisting exclusively of carbon and hydrogen. PAHs may originate from a wide array of chemical substances released into the environment by natural but also by human activities. They are insoluble in water, but soluble in fats and oils. They are often compounds located in the organic fraction of suspended particles, and are a subject of study because of the carcinogenic and mutagenic properties attributed to some of them. Some well-known PAHs include Benzo(a)pyrene, Fluoroanthene, Naphthalene and Anthracene.

Sources

PAHs originate mainly from the combustion of crude oil or other fossil fuels, from the use of internal combustion engines and from the production of petroleum derivative products. Natural sources of PAHs include forest fires and volcanic activity.

The situation in Cyprus

PAHS have been systematically monitored in Cyprus, and the results of Benzo(a)pyrene concentration measurements are presented in the relevant charts. Overall, the comparison of the threshold values with the measured ones reveals that the average yearly values are lower than the legislated limits. It is noted that all analyses of Benzo(a)pyrene were performed using using PM10 filter, and that the reported concentration units used are nanograms per cubic meter (ng/m3).
Annual Average of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) [in ng/m3]
Polycyclic Aromatic
Hydrocarbons (PAHs)
MEAN VALUE PERIOD
LIMIT VALUE
LIMASSOL RESIDENTIAL AYIA MARINA
BACKGROUND
2009 2010 2009 2010
Benzo(a)pyrene 1 Year 1ng/m3 0,051 0,135 0,03 0,015
Sampling
Days
  238 242 55 140
Benzo(a)anthracene 1 Year 0,052 0,03
Sampling
Days
  240 140
Benzo(b)fluoranthene 1 Year 0,076 0,126 0,038 0,021
Sampling
Days
  238 242 55 140
Benzo(j)fluoranthene 1 Year 0,808 0,081
Sampling
Days
  240 140
Benzo(k)fluoranthene 1 Year 0,036 0,055 0,017 0,006
Sampling
Days
  238 242 54 140
Indeno(1,2,3-cd)pyrene 1 Year 0,307 0,144 0,096 0,023
Sampling
Days
  238 162 55 140
Dibenz(a,h)anthracene 1 Year 0,01 0,001
Sampling
Days
  240 138

Charts

The following charts show Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon measurements for the stations Limassol (residential) and Ayia Marina (background):

European Legislation on Heavy Metals and PAHs

The European Community guideline 2004/107/ΕΚ which refers specifically to heavy metals and PAHs contained in the PM10 fraction, includes the yearly limit values for Arsenic, Cadmium, Nickel and Benzo(a)pyrene in Appendix I. The relevant limit values are available at this link.