The second International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies will be celebrated on Tuesday 7 September. The event was launched by the United Nations General Assembly in 2019 as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The aim is to raise public awareness of the issue of air quality and its impact on human health and the environment. It is also an opportunity to highlight and share the initiatives being undertaken by member countries of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to reduce pollution.
The Department of the Environment has been monitoring air quality since 1998 to track changes in pollutant concentrations and inform the population if there is a risk that thresholds will be breached.
The Prince’s Government has for many years been committed to improving air quality. In 2019, this commitment was further strengthened when the country joined the Breathe Life network (breathelife2030.org) and set the targets recommended by the World Health Organization to be achieved by 2030.
The Department of the Environment evaluates the different sources of atmospheric pollutants on an annual basis to ensure compliance with international agreements such as the Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP) and the Montreal Protocol to protect the ozone layer.
The network of five measuring stations was strengthened in 2020 with the analysis of very fine particles (PM2.5) and fine particles produced by incomplete combustion (black carbon), as well as broader deployment of micro-sensors at strategic locations in the Principality.
The daily Air Quality Index (AQI) provides information to the general public and makes it possible to predict peaks in atmospheric pollution. It is calculated using data from the Principality of Monaco’s measuring station network and regional air quality modelling, and is published daily on all of the Government’s resources and on bus shelter terminals.
Thanks to a new network of sensors, by the end of 2021 information on the different types and quantities of pollens will also be available on a daily basis.
Furthermore, one of the main sources of air pollution in the Principality is road traffic – this was confirmed by the periods of lockdown in 2020 and teleworking in 2021, when the resulting decline in traffic was proportionate to the reduction in the concentration of some pollutants such as nitrogen dioxides (NO2).
The Principality continues to promote more eco-friendly transport options, with incentives to purchase clean-energy vehicles, the use of biofuels and gradual electrification of public transport. These measures are supplemented by incentives to encourage people to switch to soft mobility options, with numerous schemes available (Monabike, Mobee, Monapass, car sharing incentives).
The long-term objective is to return to 1990 traffic levels and to develop infrastructure such as park-and-ride facilities at the entrance points to the city.
To mark this clean air event and make travel a little easier as pupils return to class, Monegasque Bus Company (CAM) services will be free on 7 September 2021.