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MU and Brno to expand air monitoring and propose improvements

Experts from the MU Faculty of Economics and Administration won a project aimed at air pollution monitoring in Brno.

The faculty’s project will help expand the current scope of air monitoring and design new measures to improve air quality. The Faculty of Economics and Administration of Masaryk University (MU) will implement the project in cooperation with the city of Brno. The project’s budget of € 647 thousand will be funded from Norway Grants (Call-2A Tromso).

“Clean air is vital not only to our health, but also in terms of the environment. In cooperation with Masaryk University, we plan to gather data on an ongoing basis to help implement the city’s strategies. Specifically, our Air Quality Action Plan and Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan, where we set out to reduce CO2 emissions by 40 per cent by the year 2030. The data collected will help gather useful evidence for decision-making in various areas, for example in transport, healthcare, education and the environment. We are also concerned about airborne dust from transport, construction and fields around Brno,” said Petr Hladík, 1st Deputy Mayor of Brno.

As part of the project designated “Monitoring and measures to improve air quality in Brno”, experts from the Faculty of Economics and Administration will evaluate air pollution in proximity to roads and railways, waste incineration plants and places such as allotment gardens using mobile measuring stations over the course of one year.

Additionally, they will inquire about the pollution affecting people depending on their journeys to school or work. “The amount of polluted air affecting individuals will also be measured using small mobile devices which our volunteers will carry around. This will help us estimate the overall pollution burden affecting people depending on their habitual movement around the city,” said Vilém Pařil, the project coordinator at MU.

“The project will enable us to scale up continuous pollution measurements from the ten weather stations currently deployed within the city limits to a total of 22 stations. This will make possible to identify the prevailing sources and types of pollution and update the Air Quality Action Plan, which was drawn up in 2017. The data collected will also help hydrometeorologists to revise the dispersion model for Brno, which shows how pollutants get dispersed in the atmosphere,” added Dominika Tóthová, MU’s project co-investigator.

Since 2017, Brno has evaluated the Air Quality Action Plan on an annual basis. New findings are used to amend or modify the plan in order to adopt measures improving air quality. Based on the outputs of measurements carried out as part of this project, the Action Plan will be updated (effective from 2024) and developed further to account for substances that are not usually measured.

The action plan will also incorporate other specific steps to achieve better air quality. The project is in line with the city’s ambition to reduce emissions, which Brno declared through the Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan (SECAP), and its goals in the area of digitisation including sensor testing and data management.

“The main objective of the project is to ensure continuous pollution measurements to identify prevailing sources and types of pollution and detect specific pollution hotspots using suitable analyses. The project’s outputs will be published with visualisations at the portal, including source data, which will thus be available for further analysis,” added Tomáš Koláčný, 2nd Deputy Mayor.

Besides MU and Brno, the project also involves the city of Oslo (Norway) and expert support will be provided by the University of Stavanger.