Special Issue "Air Quality in Poland"

A special issue of Atmosphere (ISSN 2073-4433). This special issue belongs to the section "Air Quality".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (25 January 2022) | Viewed by 17666

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Magdalena Reizer
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Building Services, Hydro and Environmental Engineering, Warsaw University of Technology, 00-653 Warszawa, Poland
Interests: particulate matter; source apportionment; positive matrix factorization; air mass back trajectories; statistical analyses; health impact assessment
Dr. Jerzy Sowa
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Building Services, Hydro and Environmental Engineering, Warsaw University of Technology, 00-653 Warszawa, Poland
Interests: indoor air quality; creation of the indoor environment; indoor/outdoor interactions; biophilia; modeling of pollutants’ migration in buildings; ventilation systems
Prof. Dr. Zbigniew Nahorski
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Systems Research Institute, Polish Academy of Sciences, 01-447 Warszawa, Poland
Interests: air pollutant dispersion models; impact of air pollution on population health risk; modeling pollutant emissions in high-resolution grids; uncertainty of gridded emission data

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Poland is trying to reach the socio-economic indicators of the most developed countries. Unfortunately, environmental factors are quite a substantial limitation: energy and heat production is still based on hard coal and lignite, a vast percentage of transport vehicles do not meet modern emission standards, and domestic energy and heat sources consume large amounts of solid fuels, including those of low quality.

As a consequence, Polish citizens suffer from several specific problems related to air quality. Frequently occurring episodes of high concentrations of PM 2.5 are of particular interest. Due to the low quality of the ambient air, many buildings also have low indoor air quality. This is particularly true for naturally ventilated buildings such as residential buildings, schools, or kindergartens.

Despite experiencing many problems, Poland is a country where many actions supported by scientific programs aiming to describe, analyze, and change the situation are undertaken. Therefore, we believe that this Special Issue will meet many Polish scientists’ need to share the original studies with a broad audience. As air pollutants’ transboundary transport is an essential factor in modeling air quality on a larger scale, the scientific reports from this particular Issue may also be of interest to scientists from other countries.

This Special Issue seeks to publish original research or review papers dealing with subjects including but not limited to ambient and indoor air quality, with particular attention to PM and its gaseous precursors. Papers focusing on emission, air quality, different source apportionment approaches, and papers analyzing the health effects of ambient and indoor air pollution are welcome.

Dr. Magdalena Reizer
Dr. Jerzy Sowa
Prof. Dr. Zbigniew Nahorski
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Atmosphere is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Ambient air quality
  • Particulate matter air pollution
  • Air pollutant emissions
  • Source apportionment
  • Air pollution modelling
  • Indoor air quality
  • Indoor/outdoor environment interactions
  • Air quality impact on health, comfort, and individual performance
  • Poland

Published Papers (20 papers)

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Article
Impact of Shale Gas Exploration and Exploitation Activities on the Quality of Ambient Air—The Case Study of Wysin, Poland
Atmosphere 2022, 13(8), 1228; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos13081228 - 02 Aug 2022
Viewed by 240
Abstract
The continuous two-year monitoring of a set of air pollutants, as well as gases directly related to shale gas exploration processes (methane, non-methane hydrocarbons, carbon dioxide), was carried out at Stary Wiec village in the vicinity (1100 m) of the shale gas wells [...] Read more.
The continuous two-year monitoring of a set of air pollutants, as well as gases directly related to shale gas exploration processes (methane, non-methane hydrocarbons, carbon dioxide), was carried out at Stary Wiec village in the vicinity (1100 m) of the shale gas wells area in Wysin (Pomeranian voivodeship, north of Poland), covering the stages of preparation, drilling, hydrofracturing and closing of wells. The results of analysis of air pollution data from Stary Wiec and nearby urban and rural stations, over the period 2012–2017 (starting three years before preparations for hydraulic fracturing) indicated that Stary Wiec represents a clean rural environment with an average concentration of nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and particulate matter that is one of the lowest in the Pomeranian region. The aim of this study was to explore the range of potential impact of shale gas exploration on local ambient air quality. Analysis of dependence of the concentration level of pollutants on the wind direction indicated that during the drilling period, when the air was coming directly from the area of the wells, nitrogen oxide concentration increased by 13%. Increases of concentration during the hydro-fracturing period, recorded at the Stary Wiec station, were equal to 108%, 21%, 18%, 12%, 7%, 4%, 1% for nitrogen oxide, non-methane hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter, carbon dioxide and methane. The results of one-minute concentration values for the period 1–4 September 2016 showed a series of short peaks up to 7.45 ppm for methane and up to 3.03 ppm for non-methane hydrocarbons, being probably the result of operations carried out at the area of the wells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality in Poland)
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Article
Seasonal Variations in the Concentration of Particulate Matter in the Air of Cracow Affect the Magnitude of CD4+ T Cell Subsets Cytokine Production in Patients with Inflammatory and Autoimmune Disorders
Atmosphere 2022, 13(4), 529; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos13040529 - 27 Mar 2022
Viewed by 523
Abstract
Recently, the increased prevalence of chronic civilization diseases triggered by environmental pollution has been observed. In this context, the role of air pollution in the pathogenesis of autoimmune and/or inflammatory disorders is poorly elucidated. Here, we asked whether seasonal changes in the air [...] Read more.
Recently, the increased prevalence of chronic civilization diseases triggered by environmental pollution has been observed. In this context, the role of air pollution in the pathogenesis of autoimmune and/or inflammatory disorders is poorly elucidated. Here, we asked whether seasonal changes in the air quality of the city of Cracow affect the polarization of T cell subsets in healthy donors (HD) and patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), multiple sclerosis (MS), and atherosclerosis (AS). Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from HD and patients were exposed in vitro to particulate matter isolated from the air of Cracow (PM CRC). Blood samples were collected in two seasons (winter and summer), with differences in air concentration of particulate matter of 10 μm (PM10) (below or above a daily limit of 50 µg/m3). The obtained data showed a significantly elevated frequency of CD4+ lymphocytes specific for IFN-γ and IL-17A after the exposure of PBMCs to PM CRC. This was observed for all patients’ groups and HD. In the case of patients, this effect was dependent on the seasonal concentration of PM in the air, paradoxically being less pronounced in the season with a higher concentration of air pollution. These observations may suggest the role of air pollution on the course of inflammatory and autoimmune disorders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality in Poland)
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Article
Neutron Activation Analysis of PM10 for Air Quality of an Industrial Region in the Czech Republic: A Case Study
Atmosphere 2022, 13(3), 479; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos13030479 - 15 Mar 2022
Viewed by 594
Abstract
This work was conducted to focus on pollutant transmission between Poland and Czechia at the most polluted area in the Czech Republic, the Moravian Silesian region. Instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA) and multivariate statistical analyses were used to determine the mass fractions of [...] Read more.
This work was conducted to focus on pollutant transmission between Poland and Czechia at the most polluted area in the Czech Republic, the Moravian Silesian region. Instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA) and multivariate statistical analyses were used to determine the mass fractions of inorganic air pollutants accumulated on filters. Particle matters of sizes smaller than 10 µm (PM10) were collected using a high-volume sampler (SAM Hi 30 AUTO WIND). Pollutants PM10 were collected on Whatman QM-A Quartz Microfiber Filters of 150 mm in diameter based on various wind conditions. These filters were irradiated by neutron flux at the experimental reactor IBR-2 at the Joint Institute of Nuclear Research in Dubna, RF. Irradiated samples were measured by gamma spectrometry techniques using HPGe detectors. In total, results are shown for 49 samples (from March to July 2021) and five field blank filters. The mass fractions of 24 elements (Sc, Cr, Fe, Ni, Co, Zn, Se, As, Br, Rb, Mo, Sb, Ba, Cs, La, Ce, Sm, Eu, Tb, Yb, Hf, Au, Th, and U) were determined. The sources of pollution were specified using correlation and exploratory factor analyses and including meteorological conditions. A strong positive correlation was shown between the elements Cr, As, Br, Co, Fe, Sc, Se, Sm, Th, La, and Ce. Elemental exposure to PM10 can be divided based on the factor loadings of common chemical components into three main pollution sources. According to the wind rose, the pollution came from the southeast/west direction; therefore, we can assume that the pollution most likely originated from the metallurgic complex (steel and iron production in the southeast, and a coking plant, metal foundry, and generation plant in the west). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality in Poland)
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Article
Emission from Internal Combustion Engines and Battery Electric Vehicles: Case Study for Poland
Atmosphere 2022, 13(3), 401; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos13030401 - 28 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 833
Abstract
The paper compares the emissions from vehicles including ICEVs (internal combustion engine vehicles) with equivalent emissions from BEVs (battery electric vehicles). Additionally, it analyzes the available source research and the specific energy mix for Poland based on carbon. Mathematical calculations estimate air pollutant [...] Read more.
The paper compares the emissions from vehicles including ICEVs (internal combustion engine vehicles) with equivalent emissions from BEVs (battery electric vehicles). Additionally, it analyzes the available source research and the specific energy mix for Poland based on carbon. Mathematical calculations estimate air pollutant emissions. To carry out the analysis and calculations, data were provided by the manufacturers of electricity consumption in the case of vehicles equipped with electric motors and the COPERT model for internal combustion engines. Air pollutants are considered: CO2, NOx, SOx, CO, and Total Suspended Particles (TSP). In addition to exhaust emissions, all solids emissions from road abrasion and tire and brake wear are also considered. The emission of pollutants is estimated based on the emission factors using the average mileage in Polish conditions. The paper compares emissions for three scenarios considering electric vehicles, combustion engine cars, and hybrid cars. Analyses show that introducing cars with electric engines into traffic at the expense of withdrawing vehicles with internal combustion engines is not favorable in Polish conditions. The analysis indicates that CO, CO2, and TSP emissions have decreased, while NOx and SOx emissions have increased. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality in Poland)
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Article
Transboundary Air Pollution Transport of PM10 and Benzo[a]pyrene in the Czech–Polish Border Region
Atmosphere 2022, 13(2), 341; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos13020341 - 17 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 464
Abstract
The article is occupied with the evaluation of the transboundary transport of pollutants in the Czech–Polish border region (between the Moravian-Silesian region and the Silesian Voivodeship) in Central Europe. It focuses on the evaluation of concentrations of benzo[a]pyrene (BaP) and suspended [...] Read more.
The article is occupied with the evaluation of the transboundary transport of pollutants in the Czech–Polish border region (between the Moravian-Silesian region and the Silesian Voivodeship) in Central Europe. It focuses on the evaluation of concentrations of benzo[a]pyrene (BaP) and suspended particles of PM10 depending on meteorological conditions, especially wind direction. The whole area of interest is heavily affected with air pollution of BaP and PM10. Limits of BaP and PM10 are still exceeded. Annual concentrations of benzo[a]pyrene are even several times higher than the value of its annual limit. The elaboration follows the results of the Czech–Polish project “Air Silesia”, which dealt with air pollution and the transboundary transport of pollutants in this area and took place in 2010 to 2013. Within this project, a higher transport of pollutants from Poland to the Czech Republic was established. The evaluation of the dependences of PM10 concentrations is based on hourly and daily data of PM10 and hourly data of meteorological quantities. To assess the dependences of daily BaP and PM10 concentrations, a methodology for evaluating daily types of wind direction was implemented into the processing. The results confirm that the problem of above-limit concentrations of BaP and PM10 in the Moravian-Silesian Region in the Czech Republic and the Silesian Voivodeship in Poland remains. The article confirms there is a higher transport of PM10 concentrations from Poland to the Czech Republic in the area of interest. Higher transport in the same direction is also predicted for daily concentrations of benzo[a]pyrene, although this cannot be clearly confirmed due to the lack of more detailed and identifiable data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality in Poland)
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Article
Relationships between Vertical Temperature Gradients and PM10 Concentrations during Selected Weather Conditions in Upper Silesia (Southern Poland)
Atmosphere 2022, 13(1), 125; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos13010125 - 13 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 411
Abstract
This paper studies surface air temperature inversions and their impact on air pollution under the background of meteorological conditions in southern Poland. The relationship of temperature gradients and air quality classes with weather conditions in the most urbanized and polluted part of Poland [...] Read more.
This paper studies surface air temperature inversions and their impact on air pollution under the background of meteorological conditions in southern Poland. The relationship of temperature gradients and air quality classes with weather conditions in the most urbanized and polluted part of Poland as represented by the Upper Silesia region (USR) within the administrative boundaries of the Górnośląsko-Zagłębiowska Metropolis (GZM) is presented. Based on probability analysis this study hierarchized the role of the selected weather elements in the development of surface-based temperature inversion (SBI) and air quality (AQ). The thresholds of weather elements for a rapid increase in the probability of oppressive air pollution episodes were distinguished. Although most SBI occurred in summer winter SBIs were of great importance. In that season a bad air quality occurred during >70% of strong inversions and >50% of moderate inversions. Air temperature more strongly triggered AQ than SBI development. Wind speed was critical for SBI and significant for AQ development. A low cloudiness favored SBI occurrence altered air quality in winter and spring during SBI and favored very bad AQ5 (>180 µg/m3) occurrence. The probability of high air pollution enhanced by SBI rapidly increased in winter when the air temperature dropped below −6 °C the wind speed decreased below 1.5 m/s and the sky was cloudless. Changes in the relative humidity did not induce rapid changes in the occurrence of bad AQ events during SBI Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality in Poland)
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Article
Effect of Air Purifier Use in the Classrooms on Indoor Air Quality—Case Study
Atmosphere 2021, 12(12), 1606; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12121606 - 30 Nov 2021
Viewed by 992
Abstract
Dissatisfaction with indoor air quality is common even in relatively new or renovated Polish school buildings. To improve air quality in educational buildings, portable devices have seen increased use, for which manufacturers guarantee a high level of indoor air purification. However, their optimized [...] Read more.
Dissatisfaction with indoor air quality is common even in relatively new or renovated Polish school buildings. To improve air quality in educational buildings, portable devices have seen increased use, for which manufacturers guarantee a high level of indoor air purification. However, their optimized operation largely depends on their correct use. The aim of this article was to determine the effectiveness of air purification in a primary school using an air purification device with an analysis of the classroom indoor air quality (IAQ). Two criteria were used, microbiological and particulate matter concentration. Measurements were made before device installation and during its continuous operation, and before and after lessons on chosen days. Measurements related to IAQ did not detect clear differences in the analyzed measurement periods. For microbiological contamination, in the morning before lessons, the total count for all bacteria and microscopic fungi was definitely lower than after lessons. Comparing the periods before and after device installation, no clear tendency for reducing the bacteria count or microscopic fungi occurred during air purifier operation, nor was there any noticeable trend in the reduction of particulate matter. There was no improvement in air quality in the classrooms during the operation of the purification devices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality in Poland)
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Article
A Decade of Poland-AOD Aerosol Research Network Observations
Atmosphere 2021, 12(12), 1583; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12121583 - 27 Nov 2021
Viewed by 1369
Abstract
The Poland-AOD aerosol research network was established in 2011 to improve aerosol–climate interaction knowledge and provide a real-time and historical, comprehensive, and quantitative database for the aerosol optical properties distribution over Poland. The network consists of research institutions and private owners operating 10 [...] Read more.
The Poland-AOD aerosol research network was established in 2011 to improve aerosol–climate interaction knowledge and provide a real-time and historical, comprehensive, and quantitative database for the aerosol optical properties distribution over Poland. The network consists of research institutions and private owners operating 10 measurement stations and an organization responsible for aerosol model transport simulations. Poland-AOD collaboration provides observations of spectral aerosol optical depth (AOD), Ångstrom Exponent (AE), incoming shortwave (SW) and longwave (LW) radiation fluxes, vertical profiles of aerosol optical properties and surface aerosol scattering and absorption coefficient, as well as microphysical particle properties. Based on the radiative transfer model (RTM), the aerosol radiative forcing (ARF) and the heating rate are simulated. In addition, results from GEM-AQ and WRF-Chem models (e.g., aerosol mass mixing ratio and optical properties for several particle chemical components), and HYSPLIT back-trajectories are used to interpret the results of observation and to describe the 3D aerosol optical properties distribution. Results of Poland-AOD research indicate progressive improvement of air quality and at mospheric turbidity during the last decade. The AOD was reduced by about 0.02/10 yr (at 550 nm), which corresponds to positive trends in ARF. The estimated clear-sky ARF trend is 0.34 W/m2/10 yr and 0.68 W/m2/10 yr, respectively, at TOA and at Earth’s surface. Therefore, reduction in aerosol load observed in Poland can significantly contribute to climate warming. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality in Poland)
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Article
Application of Satellite Observations and Air Quality Modelling to Validation of NOx Anthropogenic EMEP Emissions Inventory over Central Europe
Atmosphere 2021, 12(11), 1465; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12111465 - 05 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 519
Abstract
One of the most important minor species in the atmosphere is nitrogen dioxide (NO2). The primary objective of the presented research was to propose a method to adjust emission inventories (emission fluxes) using tropospheric NO2 columns observed by OMI and [...] Read more.
One of the most important minor species in the atmosphere is nitrogen dioxide (NO2). The primary objective of the presented research was to propose a method to adjust emission inventories (emission fluxes) using tropospheric NO2 columns observed by OMI and SCIAMACHY instruments. Modified emission fluxes were used in a chemical weather model GEM-AQ. The GEM-AQ model results were compared with the monthly averaged satellite-derived column amount of NO2 over Europe for the 2008–2010 observing period. It was shown that the observed and modelled spatial distribution of high values of the NO2 column is highly correlated with the distribution of major anthropogenic sources in the modelling domain. The presented findings highlight the importance of the anthropogenic sources in the overall budget of NO2 in the polluted troposphere. Regions for which modelling results showed underestimation or overestimation compared with observations were constant for the whole analysis period. Thus, the NO2 column observations could be used for correcting emission estimates. The proposed emission correction method is based on the differences in modelled and satellite-derived NO2 columns. Modelling was done for 2011 using the original and adjusted emission inventories and compared with observed NO2 columns. The analysis was extended to compare modelling results with surface NO2 observations from selected air quality stations in Poland. A significant improvement in modelling results was obtained over regions with large overestimations in the control run for which the original emission fluxes were used. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality in Poland)
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Article
Bottom–Up Inventory of Residential Combustion Emissions in Poland for National Air Quality Modelling: Current Status and Perspectives
Atmosphere 2021, 12(11), 1460; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12111460 - 04 Nov 2021
Viewed by 456
Abstract
For many years, the Polish air quality modelling system was decentralized, which significantly hampered the appropriate development of methodologies, evaluations, and comparisons of modelling results. The major contributor to air pollution in Poland is the residential combustion sector. This paper demonstrates a novel [...] Read more.
For many years, the Polish air quality modelling system was decentralized, which significantly hampered the appropriate development of methodologies, evaluations, and comparisons of modelling results. The major contributor to air pollution in Poland is the residential combustion sector. This paper demonstrates a novel methodology for residential emission estimation utilized for national air quality modelling and assessment. Our data were compared with EMEP and CAMS inventories, and despite some inequalities in country totals, spatial patterns were similar. We discuss the shortcomings of the presented method and draw conclusions for future improvements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality in Poland)
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Article
Comparison of PM10 Sources at Traffic and Urban Background Sites Based on Elemental, Chemical and Isotopic Composition: Case Study from Krakow, Southern Poland
Atmosphere 2021, 12(10), 1364; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12101364 - 19 Oct 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 688
Abstract
In large urban agglomerations, car traffic is one of the main sources of particulate matter. It consists of particulate matter directly generated in the process of incomplete liquid fuel burning in vehicle engine, secondary aerosols formed from exhaust gaseous pollutants (NOx, [...] Read more.
In large urban agglomerations, car traffic is one of the main sources of particulate matter. It consists of particulate matter directly generated in the process of incomplete liquid fuel burning in vehicle engine, secondary aerosols formed from exhaust gaseous pollutants (NOx, SO2) as well as products of tires, brake pads and pavement abrasion. Krakow is one of the cities in Europe with the highest concentrations of particulate matter. The article presents the results of combined elemental, chemical and isotopic analyses of particulate matter PM10 at two contrasting urban environments during winter and summer seasons. Daily PM10 samples were collected during the summer and winter seasons of 2018/2019 at two stations belonging to the network monitoring air quality in the city. Mean PM10 concentrations at traffic-dominated stations were equal to 35 ± 7 µg/m3 and 76 ± 28 µg/m3 in summer and winter, respectively, to be compared with 25.6 ± 5.7 µg/m3 and 51 ± 25 µg/m3 in summer and winter, respectively, recorded at the urban background station. The source attribution of analyzed PM10 samples was carried out using two modeling approaches: (i) The Positive Matrix Factorization (PMF) method for elemental and chemical composition (concentrations of elements, ions, as well as organic and elemental carbon in daily PM10 samples), and (ii) Isotope Mass Balance (IMB) for 13C and 14C carbon isotope composition of carbonaceous fraction of PM10. For PMF application, five sources of particulate matter were identified for each station: fossil fuel combustion, secondary inorganic aerosols, traffic exhaust, soil, and the fifth source which included road dust, industry, construction work. The IMB method allowed the partitioning of the total carbon reservoir of PM10 into carbon originating from coal combustion, from biogenic sources (natural emissions and biomass burning) and from traffic. Both apportionment methods were applied together for the first time in the Krakow agglomeration and they gave consistent results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality in Poland)
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Article
Short-Term Effects of “Polish Smog” on Cardiovascular Mortality in the Green Lungs of Poland: A Case-Crossover Study with 4,500,000 Person-Years (PL-PARTICLES Study)
Atmosphere 2021, 12(10), 1270; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12101270 - 29 Sep 2021
Viewed by 918
Abstract
Previous studies conducted in highly polluted areas have reported associations between air pollution and daily mortality. The Green Lungs of Poland are characterized by unique natural features and a moderate pollution level. We aimed to assess the short-term impact of air pollution on [...] Read more.
Previous studies conducted in highly polluted areas have reported associations between air pollution and daily mortality. The Green Lungs of Poland are characterized by unique natural features and a moderate pollution level. We aimed to assess the short-term impact of air pollution on cardiovascular (CVD)-, acute coronary syndrome (ACS)-, and cerebrovascular-related (CbVD) mortality. An analysis with 4,500,000 person-years and a time-stratified case-crossover design was performed. The interquartile range increase in the PM2.5 (OR 1.036, 95% CI 1.016–1.056, p < 0.001) and PM10 concentration (OR 1.034, 95% CI 1.015–1.053, p < 0.001) was associated with increased CVD mortality on lag 0, and this effect persisted on the following days. The effects of PMs were expressed more in association with ACS-related mortality (PM2.5-OR = 1.045, 95% CI 1.012–1.080, p = 0.01; PM10-OR = 1.044, 95% CI 1.010–1.078, p = 0.01) and CbVD mortality (PM10-OR = 1.099, 95% CI 1.019–1.343, p = 0.02). We also noted a higher CVD mortality OR in the cold season for PM10 in cities with area-source domination: Białystok (p = 0.001) and Suwałki (p = 0.047). The short-term impact of PMs on cardiovascular mortality is also observed in moderately polluted areas. This adverse health effect was more apparent in CbVD- and ACS-related mortality, and in the cold season. Further research focusing on the adverse health effects of “Polish smog” is sorely needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality in Poland)
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Article
Influence of Krakow Winter and Summer Dusts on the Redox Cycling of Vitamin B12a in the Presence of Ascorbic Acid
Atmosphere 2021, 12(8), 1050; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12081050 - 15 Aug 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 841
Abstract
Air pollution remains a serious problem in Krakow, Poland. According to the European Environmental Agency, annual mean levels of both PM2.5 and PM10 recorded in Krakow are much higher than EU limit values. Thus, the influence of particulate matter (PM) on the function [...] Read more.
Air pollution remains a serious problem in Krakow, Poland. According to the European Environmental Agency, annual mean levels of both PM2.5 and PM10 recorded in Krakow are much higher than EU limit values. Thus, the influence of particulate matter (PM) on the function of living organisms, as well as different physiological processes, is an urgent subject to be studied. The reported research forms part of the multi-disciplinary project ‘Air Pollution versus Autoimmunity: Role of multiphase aqueous Inorganic Chemistry,’ which aims to demonstrate the PM effect on the immune system. The present studies focused on the role of dust collected in Krakow on the redox cycling of vitamin B12a in the presence of ascorbic acid. Dust samples collected during the winter 2019/2020 and summer 2020 months in the city center of Krakow were characterized using various analytical techniques. The influence of Krakow dusts on the kinetics of the reaction between nitrocobalamin and ascorbic acid was confirmed and discussed in terms of the composition of the samples. Possible reasons for the reported findings are provided. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality in Poland)
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Article
Air Quality during New Year’s Eve: A Biomonitoring Study with Moss
Atmosphere 2021, 12(8), 975; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12080975 - 29 Jul 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 891
Abstract
Mosses are one of the best bioindicators in the assessment of atmospheric aerosol pollution by heavy metals. Studies using mosses allow both short- and long-term air quality monitoring. The increasing contamination of the environment (including air) is causing a search for new, cheap [...] Read more.
Mosses are one of the best bioindicators in the assessment of atmospheric aerosol pollution by heavy metals. Studies using mosses allow both short- and long-term air quality monitoring. The increasing contamination of the environment (including air) is causing a search for new, cheap and effective methods of monitoring its condition. Once such method is the use of mosses in active biomonitoring. The aim of the study was to assess the atmospheric aerosol pollution with selected heavy metals (Ni, Cu, Zn, Cd, Hg and Pb) from the smoke of fireworks used during New Year’s Eve in the years 2019/2020 and 2020/2021. In studies a biomonitoring moss-bag method with moss Pleurozium schreberi (Willd. ex Brid.) Mitt. genus Pleurozium was used. The research was conducted in the town Prószków (5 km in south direction from Opole, opolskie voivodship, Poland). The moss was exposed 14 days before 31 December (from 17 to 30 of December), on New Year’s Eve (31 December and 1 January) and 2 weeks after the New Year (from 2–15 January). Higher concentrations of analysed elements were determined in samples exposed during New Year’s Eve. Increases in concentrations were demonstrated by analysis of the Relative Accumulation Factor (RAF). The results indicate that the use of fireworks during New Year’s Eve causes an increase in air pollution with heavy metals. In addition, it was shown that the COVID-19 induced restrictions during New Year’s Eve 2020 resulted in a reduction of heavy metal content in moss samples and thus in lower atmospheric aerosol pollution with these analytes. The study confirmed moss usefulness in monitoring of atmospheric aerosol pollution from point sources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality in Poland)
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Article
Spatial and Temporal Variation of NO2 Vertical Column Densities (VCDs) over Poland: Comparison of the Sentinel-5P TROPOMI Observations and the GEM-AQ Model Simulations
Atmosphere 2021, 12(7), 896; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12070896 - 10 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1017
Abstract
The TROPOMI instrument aboard Sentinel-5P is a relatively new, high-resolution source of information about atmosphere composition. One of the primary atmospheric trace gases that we can observe is nitrogen dioxide. Thanks to TROPOMI capabilities (high resolution and short revisit time), one can describe [...] Read more.
The TROPOMI instrument aboard Sentinel-5P is a relatively new, high-resolution source of information about atmosphere composition. One of the primary atmospheric trace gases that we can observe is nitrogen dioxide. Thanks to TROPOMI capabilities (high resolution and short revisit time), one can describe regional and seasonal NO2 concentration patterns. Thus far, such patterns have been analysed by either ground measurements (which have been limited to specific locations and only to the near-surface troposphere layer) or numerical models. This paper compares the TROPOMI and GEM-AQ derived vertical column densities (VCD) over Poland, focusing on large point sources. Although well established in atmospheric science, the GEM-AQ simulations are always based on emission data, which in the case of the energy sector were reported by stack operators. In addition, we checked how cloudy conditions influence TROPOMI results. Finally, we tried to link the NO2 column number densities with surface concentration using boundary layer height as an additional explanatory variable. Our results showed a general underestimation of NO2 tropospheric column number density by the GEM-AQ model (compared to the TROPOMI). However, for the locations of the most significant point sources, we noticed a systematic overestimation by the GEM-AQ model (excluding spring and summer months when TROPOMI presents larger NO2 VCDs than GEM-AQ). For the winter months, we have found TROPOMI NO2 VCD results highly dependent on the choice of qa_value threshold. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality in Poland)
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Article
Long-Term eBC Measurements with the Use of MAAP in the Polluted Urban Atmosphere (Poland)
by , and
Atmosphere 2021, 12(7), 808; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12070808 - 23 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 811
Abstract
In recent years, black carbon (BC) has been gaining more attention due to the diversity of anthropogenic sources and the harmful effects on human health, environment, and climate. In this paper, for the first time in Poland, the results of long-term measurements of [...] Read more.
In recent years, black carbon (BC) has been gaining more attention due to the diversity of anthropogenic sources and the harmful effects on human health, environment, and climate. In this paper, for the first time in Poland, the results of long-term measurements of eBC concentrations (2009–2020) at the urban background station in Zabrze (southern Poland) are presented. A Multi-Angle Absorption Photometer (MAAP) was used, which enables the measurement of eBC concentration in fine particulate matter (PM2.5). The mean concentration of eBC over the 11-year period (3.82 μg·m−3) was higher compared to the values recorded at most European urban stations. Annual averaged eBC levels showed a downward trend and clear seasonal variations, which was caused mainly by changes in the intensity of anthropogenic emissions. The impact of meteorological parameters, in particular air temperature and wind speed, which determine the intensity of emissions and the conditions of pollutant dispersion, was not without significance. The work additionally attempts to assess the possible impact of remedial actions carried out in Zabrze over the last decade. The results showed that modernization in industry and heating and maintenance of green areas potentially had the most important impact on the decline in eBC concentrations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality in Poland)
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Article
Numerical Analysis of Smoke Spreading in a Medium-High Building under Different Ventilation Conditions
Atmosphere 2021, 12(6), 705; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12060705 - 30 May 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1079
Abstract
Smoke from fires in residential buildings represents the greatest threat to the life and health of inhabitants and firefighters at the scene of an accident. Therefore, the aim of this study was to reconstruct a numerical model for the estimation of smoke spread [...] Read more.
Smoke from fires in residential buildings represents the greatest threat to the life and health of inhabitants and firefighters at the scene of an accident. Therefore, the aim of this study was to reconstruct a numerical model for the estimation of smoke spread in a medium-high building under different ventilation conditions. Here, the three-dimensional geometry of a designated medium-high building was reconstructed and an exit door in the basement was specified as a smoke inlet; a window in the upper part was marked as outlet; and an entrance door, which allowed the outside air to enter the building after opening, was designated as an inlet door. The initial simulation, in which no air could enter the building, predicted the time taken for the staircase to become filled with smoke. In a second simulation, the entrance door was a fresh air inlet. The results showed that, for the analyzed building, rapid use of the mechanical ventilation can shorten the time of operations and improve their safety. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality in Poland)
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Article
How to Reduce the Emission of Microorganisms from a Biofilter Used to Treat Waste Gas from a Food Industry Plant
Atmosphere 2021, 12(6), 673; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12060673 - 25 May 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 826
Abstract
The aim of the study was to assess the bioaerosol removal efficiency by a semi-technical scale combined biofilter used to treat waste gas from a food industry plant. Two types of biofilter beds were tested: stumpwood chips and pine bark (CB) and stumpwood [...] Read more.
The aim of the study was to assess the bioaerosol removal efficiency by a semi-technical scale combined biofilter used to treat waste gas from a food industry plant. Two types of biofilter beds were tested: stumpwood chips and pine bark (CB) and stumpwood chips, pine bark and compost (CBC). Two types of membranes (covering the surface of the bed) were examined as the second stage of treatment: Pro Eko Tex UV (M1) and Pro Eko Tex UV 6 (M2). A conventional open biofilter (without membranes) was an emitter of microorganisms. There was no statistically significant difference between the number of bacteria emitted from CB or CBC beds, but fungal concentration was three times higher in gas treated by the CBC bed. The use of the membranes as the second stage of gas treatment significantly reduced the bacterial emission (74–78%) from the biofilter regardless of the bed and the membrane tested. The M1 membrane was also efficient in fungi removal from the treated gas by 80–97%. However, the M2 membrane could have been slowly colonized by fungi and have become an additional emitter of fungi in the system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality in Poland)
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Article
Physicochemical Analysis of Water Extracts of Particulate Matter from Polluted Air in the Area of Kraków, Poland
Atmosphere 2021, 12(5), 565; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12050565 - 28 Apr 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 673
Abstract
Solubility of transition metal compounds plays a significant role in adverse health effects because that is one of the most important factors of particulate matter bioavailability in the body. In this study, we focus on the chemical analysis of particulate matter (PM) collected [...] Read more.
Solubility of transition metal compounds plays a significant role in adverse health effects because that is one of the most important factors of particulate matter bioavailability in the body. In this study, we focus on the chemical analysis of particulate matter (PM) collected at different locations in the area of Kraków, one of the most polluted cities in Poland, and compare them with Standard Reference Material (SRM) 1648a from NIST. The content of four elements (carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and sulfur) was determined by elemental analysis, and the ratio between organic and inorganic carbon in PM extracts was confirmed by Total Organic Carbon analysis. Among the most concentrated elements found there are calcium, magnesium, sulfur, silicon, and zinc, whereas copper, iron, and manganese were present in lower concentrations. SEM-EDS analysis showed a similar morphology of the SRM and PM collected in the urban area of Kraków, while PM collected in the industrial area has smaller particles with a smooth surface. The reported analyses are significant for the APARIC project (“Air Pollution versus Autoimmunity: Role of multiphase aqueous Inorganic Chemistry”), which aims to identify the main inorganic components of PM and to understand how they affect the development of immunological diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality in Poland)
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Review

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Review
A Review of Selected Types of Indoor Air Purifiers in Terms of Microbial Air Contamination Reduction
Atmosphere 2022, 13(5), 800; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos13050800 - 13 May 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 639
Abstract
Aims: With the ongoing pandemic and increased interest in measures to improve indoor air quality, various indoor air purifiers have become very popular and are widely used. This review presents the advantages and disadvantages of various types of technologies used in air purifiers [...] Read more.
Aims: With the ongoing pandemic and increased interest in measures to improve indoor air quality, various indoor air purifiers have become very popular and are widely used. This review presents the advantages and disadvantages of various types of technologies used in air purifiers in terms of reducing microbial contamination. Methods: A literature search was performed using Web of Science, Scopus, and PubMed, as well as technical organizations dealing with indoor air-quality to identify research articles and documents within our defined scope of interest. Relevant sections: The available literature data focus mainly on the efficiency of devices based on tests conducted in laboratory conditions with test chambers, which does not reflect the real dimensions and conditions observed in residential areas. According to a wide range of articles on the topic, the actual effectiveness of air purifiers is significantly lower in real conditions than the values declared by the manufacturers in their marketing materials as well as technical specifications. Conclusions: According to current findings, using indoor air purifiers should not be the only measure to improve indoor air-quality; however, these can play a supporting role if their application is preceded by an appropriate technical and environmental analysis considering the real conditions of its use. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Quality in Poland)
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