What is Citizens for the air

What is Citizens for the air

Smog is an issue that affects us all. Thanks to Cittadini per aria, each of us can become a sentinel of the air quality in the city.


Smog emergency in Italian cities

For the lungs of the Italians, this 2020 has certainly not started in the best way. The symbol city is undoubtedly Milan , which on 23 January can already “boast” 19 days of exceeding the threshold of fine dust per cubic meter of air considered safe (50 µg / m³). 

Unfortunately, such data cannot be dismissed as an exception to the rule. We have proof of this by leafing through the latest edition of the Mal’aria di città report , just published by Legambiente . 

The law provides for a precise limit for PM10 (mainly due to traffic and the heating of homes) and for ozone (whose concentrations, conversely, increase especially in summer). In theory, each city can exceed these tolerance thresholds for 32 and 25 days , respectively , within a calendar year.

Here, in 2019 54 Italian cities are outlawed . The record belongs to Turin , with 147 outlawed 365 days: 86 for PM10 and 61 for ozone. Then we find Lodi with 135 (55 for PM10 and 80 for ozone) and Pavia with 130 (65 days for both pollutants). Milan has 109, while Rome closes the ranking with 27. 

The Citizens for the Air Association

Faced with this environmental and health emergency, should ordinary people resign themselves to stand by and watch? Maybe arm yourself with a mask and shorten the daily walk with the dog?

A group of particularly determined citizens does not think so and has created a non-profit association, called Cittadini per aria . “Air quality is not a negotiable asset, because it concerns our very life”, reads the manifesto . “Even if the times to improve the air considerably are long, we must act immediately. Each day each of us can do something “. 

But what, in practice? The project is still work in progress, but its stated objectives are four:

  • build a network of people, organizations and companies throughout Italy;
  • participate in the definition of regulations for air quality;
  • monitor existing policies and support new initiatives; 
  • defend, even in the courts , the right to breathe healthy air.  

NO2, No Thanks!

One of the first – and most successful – campaigns launched by Citizens for the air is called NO2, No Thanks! and involves the population in measuring nitrogen dioxide , a poisonous gas produced mainly by diesel engines . 

The first edition dates back to February 2017, when over two hundred Milanese bought the devices to monitor the concentration of NO2, placing them in front of homes, schools, offices. By grinding up all this data, a map of Milan’s poisons was developed , which was immediately submitted to the local administration. 

This first experiment had a great resonance and was repeated the following year, also involving Rome and Brescia , as well as a spinoff in Bologna . 

In February 2020 it will be repeated in Milan, Rome and Naples: here are all the instructions to participate .

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