City air clean thanks to cri­sis

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

The eco­nomic cri­sis has had at least one pos­i­tive side ef­fect for Thes­sa­loniki as the qual­ity of air in the north­ern port city has im­proved vastly thanks largely to fewer peo­ple us­ing their cars and home­own­ers turn­ing on their oil-fired boil­ers for shorter pe­ri­ods.

Ac­cord­ing to sta­tis­tics made pub­lic by the Thes­sa­loniki Mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s en­vi­ron­men­tal depart­ment, the num­ber of air­borne par­ti­cles de­creased by 16 per­cent last year. All mon­i­tor­ing sta­tions re­ported pol­lu­tion lev­els that were within the lim­its pre­scribed by the Euro­pean Union, ac­cord­ing to the mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s chief en­vi­ron­men­tal of­fi­cer, Max­i­mos Pe­trakakis.

The im­prove­ment in air qual­ity has been mainly at­trib­uted to fewer res­i­dents us­ing their cars – traf­fic is es­ti­mated to have dropped by 25 per­cent – and a re­duc­tion in the use of heat­ing oil. “De­clin­ing de­mand also led to a re­duc­tion in in­dus­trial out­put and the clo­sure of some busi­nesses,” said Pe­trakakis. “The re­ces­sion has led to a re­duc­tion in emis­sions from the three key sources: trans­porta­tion, heat­ing and in­dus­try.”

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