Danish environmental expert Kaare Press-Kristensen examined the air in Brno. And the result surprised him. In no other European city he measured such high levels of airborne dust as in Brno's Úvoz.
Once the traffic i feel it is bad. In Brno it is bad in many places. "First we drove a car, which we knew from the view that it will be miserable. Then we smelled and in a moment showed the device extremely high value," describes Miroslav Šuta from the Health and Environment Center, what looked like measurement Kaare Press-Kristensen.
It was Šuta who invited the Danish expert. It is able to quantify the amount of ultrafine dust particles that are not normally measured by weather stations. Dan's special device also captures dust of 10 nanometers, which is generated in cities mainly in the internal combustion engines of diesel cars. The device evaluates the dust values every second.
Press-Kristensen measured air at several locations in the center of Brno. The amount of dust particles and its surprise. He wants to make detailed results available to the Brno Municipality within two months at the latest. What the city will do, but it is not very clear. According to the City Council spokesman Pavel Žára, the city did not know about the measurements, nor does it know how to deal with the results.
Cancer, blood vessels. Even glaciers
Ultrafine dust poses a great risk to human health. Unlike larger dust particles, it is not detected by the respiratory system. "The particles are able to penetrate the blood, where they damage the walls of the blood vessels and lead to serious diseases," warned Šuta, who is originally a doctor.
Thus, the particles contribute to a greater incidence of vascular, cardiovascular and tumor diseases. In addition to its health impacts, Šuta also reminds us of its environmental impact. The carbon particles can last up to ten days in the atmosphere, and in the meantime they can travel all the way to the Arctic, where, according to research, they contribute to melting glaciers.
Although the measured values are alarming, Brno does nothing with them. It doesn't have to. There are no binding limits for such fine dust, but the World Health Organization is currently considering introducing them.
However, the Czech Republic does not respect the current recommendations for fine dust. "If the amount of fine dust in Denmark exceeds 30,000 particles per cubic meter, the Danish authorities will do something about it," Šuta says.
Brno also has a problem with coarse airborne dust. The daily allowable limit is fifty micrograms per cubic meter and cities may exceed this limit thirty-five times a year. They measured higher values at the Svatoplukova station in Brno already in nineteen days, at Zvonařka fifteen times. Last year, Brno exceeded the limits seventy times.
The dust situation is a priority according to the city's air quality improvement program, commissioned by the municipality in 2012. "I observe the deterioration of respiratory diseases, rhinitis, etc. with my almost two-year-old daughter," confirms Soňa Homolka, who in Brno lives. After living in Boskovice for two years. And he says that there is a difference between the local and Brno air. "In the worst days, you can feel it," adds Homolka.
Municipality: dust is a priority. But...
Currently, Brno is trying to improve air quality by planting greenery and continuing construction of a large city circuit in Žabovřesky, which should relieve the concentration of traffic in the center. However, this is criticized by Hana Chalupská of the Dejchej Brno association, who claims that the planned buildings will not facilitate traffic, but will bring it to the center.
Solution: Emission zones or filters
Transport is perceived by the municipality as the greatest polluter. "However, it is difficult to prevent increased traffic, Brno is a catchment town," said spokesman Pavel Zara.
The mothers who make up the Dejchej Brno association have long been interested in the air in Brno. Last year, for example, they blocked the road to Úvoz to alert the state of the air. Dejchej Brno presents on its website possibilities how to help the air.
One of them is the introduction of low-emission zones, which have been considered by cities throughout the Czech Republic for several years. Emission zones that allow municipalities to set up government regulations are designed to prevent older cars from entering specific areas. Drivers who want to drive through the low-emission zone must meet the limits of their car and have an environmental plaque affixed to the glass to prove it.
They are considering establishing such zones, for example in Prague or Klimkovice near Ostrava. The amount of dust particles would greatly reduce the dust filters of cars and buses. The fleet of the Brno Public Transport Company has 303 buses, but the filter has only ten minibuses and three test buses.
The company plans to buy new buses with a built-in dust filter next year. "In the middle of this year, we will also put into operation the first 12 buses for compressed natural gas;
Three years ago, Brno was able to obtain a grant from Switzerland just for bus filters. But the councilors refused him. "I consider the effect of such a measure to be scarce and there is no need to throw money at it," said Deputy Mayor of Brno Ladislav Macek.
Run to the park instead
What with this? Stay at home and not open windows? Hardly. Despite the busy and dusty streets, at least high parks in Brno are spared. In Lužánky and Špilberk, Press-Kristensen measured the lowest values in Brno at a distance of fifty meters from the road.
If you are looking for a place in Brno where it is healthiest to go with a carriage or run, then head here. "I am not very pleased that we have to go around large traffic arteries, there should be more parks in the center," comments Homolka.
According to Šutová, the research could return to Brno. Measurement in public transport is also being considered, where there is also a risk of higher dust levels.