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Monitoring suspended PM10: First results of the TENT AIR project

These are very fine particles, which we know incorrectly as dust because they contain not only solid particles but also liquid particles, pollen grains and a secondary aerosol that is formed by reactions in the atmosphere, all of which float due to their low mass (gravity is slow). From the point of view of health effects, this mixture can be considered as fine dust that enters the respiratory tract and, depending on the size of the particles, moves on, for example, to the lungs. In the lungs, the particles bound to the dust can then be transported to the blood, where they are carried to all parts of the lungs. Some substances can then accumulate in the bones, fat and organs of the body for life. The reaction of each organism is different, the subsequent disease may or may not occur, a number of factors determine. What you can do is take care of yourself, i.e. exercise, eat moderately, do not indulge in vices - it is called a healthy lifestyle. As you can see, it's important to keep a pollutant like PM10 under control, monitor it and try to minimize its effects.

What was the situation in Mělník at the time of the monitoring?

The blue curve shows the evolution of PM10 concentrations sequentially at 5 locations in Mělník from April to October 2022. The red line indicates the daily limit for PM10 (50 ug PM10/m3) and the green line indicates the annual limit for PM10 (40 ug PM10/m3).

The average PM10 concentration is 19.2 ug/m3 and the maximum PM10 concentration is 100 ug/m3. The average concentration is very favourable and is below 50% of the applicable annual limit. However, for the assessment we miss the heating season (October-April), which is always worse than the non-heating season. The Air Protection Act also regulates the number of "permitted" exceedances of daily concentrations, namely 35 times per year. In our case we show hourly concentrations and the frequency of exceedances is not high. Dust itself has not toxic, but mechanical effects - irritation of the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract, conjunctivae of the eyes and skin, and allergic reactions in more sensitive persons. Through suspended particles, other hazardous substances can enter the body, e.g. polyaromatic hydrocarbons, heavy metals, dioxins. These substances may have carcinogenic, mutagenic or teratogenic effects.

The TENT project is measuring at other sites in Ústí nad Labem and Zdiby. What was the situation here?

The average PM10 concentration in Ústí nad Labem is 13.4 ug/m3 and the maximum PM10 concentration is 98 ug/m3 for the period April to October 2022. The average PM10 concentration in Zdiby is 22.9 ug/m3 and the maximum PM10 concentration is 96 ug/m3 for the period November 2022 to March 2023.

Occurrence of suspended particles (dust)

Dust is literally ubiquitous. It comes from both natural and anthropogenic processes. In addition to combustion processes, industrial technologies, a lot of dust also comes from agricultural activities, construction, transport.

On the territory of the Czech Republic, dust is monitored by the Czech National Institute of Meteorology (CNMI) using AIM (Automatic Immission Monitoring) and the results are continuously available on the website in the air tab. The number of AIM stations has gradually changed and it can be estimated that around 100 stations contribute to the monitoring. The AIM stations are very accurate, but they cannot respond to a local problem, i.e. the existence of different sources, industrial zones, traffic junctions, etc. That is why we are measuring at another 14 sites within the TENT project, trying to understand the influence of local sources on the immission situation in relation to the traffic load of the area. This is a purpose-built measurement, using the same technology used by the CHMI.

If you are interested in the situation on a broader scale, visit the CHMI website, where you will find, for example, this map of the Czech Republic.

Image source: CHMI Graphical Yearbook 2021,

As can be seen, the PM10 situation in 2021 was favourable throughout the Czech Republic, with only some locations exceeding the annual PM10 limit. For comparison, a map from 2010, when the situation was not so favourable, is attached.

Image source: CHMI Graphical Yearbook 2010,

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