Particulate Matter (PM) - Cross-Boarder Research and Cooperation in Measurement, Modelling and Mitigation
In our environment, particulate matter (PM) is one of the major causes of many respiratory and vascular diseases. In the Euregio Maas-Rhine with its population of 3 million people, the loss of healthy life years (also known as Disability Adjusted Life Years or DALYs) due to illness or premature death is projected at 30,000 for the year 2010.
The European Community has defined limit values for the PM concentration, which in the Euregio are often exceeded.
Measurement and data processing methods differ in the three countries, a direct comparison is constricted because of the various PM sources. Not only measurement techniques are differing, but also interpretation of the measured data and their processing in auxiliary models as well as the calculation of spatial distribution of concentrations. These data , however, are necessary for the creation and evaluation of administrative measures and air quality plans.
An improvement of coordination of air quality measures shall be achieved through the project. Starting with measurement techniques and instruments, a mobile reference laboratory will be established, which is applied in the three countries at selected locations for comparison with the existing devices at each location. The equivalent data consequently gathered, are assigned to uniformly created PM10 maps in the next step, in order to visualize the cross-boundary PM pollution, PM sources and other air quality-related and geographic information.
Partners of this Interreg-IV-project are
- the Province of Limburg in the Netherlands (for the Centre for Sustainable Environment)
- the ISSeP in Liège
- the Department of Geography of the RWTH Aachen University (Section of Physical Geography and Climatology)
- the Centrum voor Milieukunde (Scientific groups “applied and analytical chemistry” and “environmental biology”) at the university Hasselt.
- Additional cooperation partners are the Flemish environmental agency (Vlaamse Milieu maatschappij, VVM), the Walloon environmental agency (Agence Wallone de L‘Air et du Climat. AWAC), the Belgian office for air quality IRCELINE, the state office for nature, environment and consumer protection in North Rhine-Westphalia (LANUV NRW), the Dutch health office (GGD Amsterdam) and the Dutch ‘Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu’ (RIVM).
The section of climatology is involved with the sub-project "PM-mapping, population exposure and support for political decisions in the Euregio". Firstly, a comprehensive data base on air quality in the Euregio is established, which includes PM-measurement data, emission data, land use, climatological and other relevant data connected with air pollution. Subsequently a procedure for the spatial assessment of the measured concentrations is developed, which visualizes the cross-boundary PM distribution in the Euregio and, thus, the population-exposure in a consistent way, taking into account the currently applied statistical and physical modelling approaches in the three Euregio countries.
The spatially interpolated PM-levels will be published on an online-platform in combination with forecasts of the different models. PM-sources are shown and recommendations for the lowering of pollution levels will be developed.
The recommendations will be developed by the Department of Economic Geography in cooperation with regional emitters and the official authorities.
An owerview of the PMLab group can be found www.pmlab.eu.