Air pollution - Why care? (Spain)
- Air pollution
Over three-quarters of Spain's population lives in urban environments and a significant proportion is intermittently exposed to high concentrations of pollutants. As a result, there is growing public interest in and demand for information about air quality.
Air pollution is harmful to health and contributes to respiratory and cardiac diseases, which in turn are particularly harmful to vulnerable groups (people with respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, pregnant women, the elderly and children). It also has a negative impact on natural ecosystems, agriculture and the built environment (buildings and cultural heritage).
In Spain, the principal pollutants are particulate matter (concentration increases naturally with African dust outbreaks), tropospheric ozone (caused by precursor emissions and affects peripheral areas far away from the source of emission) and nitrogen dioxide. Environmental noise is also a major air pollutant in Spain and the principal cause in urban environments is traffic.