27 Feb, 2022 @ 12:00
1 min read

Madrid is the only Mediterranean capital with poorer air quality in recent years, despite lockdown

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SPAIN’S number one city is the only Mediterranean capital to increase levels of air pollution in recent years, according to a survey.

Improving Air Quality Map Top 10 (1)[1][1][2][2][4][2][76][2][1][6][17]

USwitch.com studied air quality in 24 major cities around Europe to determine which countries are improving, and which are getting worse.

Madrid was one of only six to significantly increase pollution levels, whilst neighbouring Portugal saw its capital comfortably in the Top 10 most improved cities.

Indeed, Lisbon saw its AQI (Air Quality Index) improve by over 11% between 2019 & 2021, whereas Madrid dropped by almost 3% during the same period.

By far the MOST improved was Athens, whose air pollution dropped by nearly 35%.

A similar trend can be found for Dublin, which has enjoyed the second-highest increase in air quality, with an overall decrease of nearly 25%.

Researchers believe Covid lockdowns are largely responsible for the improvements to AQI throughout Europe, as the biggest leaps in air quality were seen between 2020 and 2021.

The WORST offender in Europe was Reykjavík, with an overall increase of almost 14%.

Although not a good result on paper, the fact remains that Iceland’s capital still has the lowest AQI score in the study.

Decrease Air Quality Map[1][1][2][2][4][2][76][2][1][6][17]

Budapest also suffered a major decrease in AQI (over 12%) but this is compounded by a poor AQI to start with, making the decrease in air quality all the more troublesome for thee Hungarian capital.

Although Madrid had an overall air pollution increase in single figures (2.9%), it should still be cause for concern, considering Spain had similar lockdown regimes to other countries and is making big efforts to generate more energy from the sun.

Notably, Spain’s capital is the only Mediterranean city on the list found to have suffered a reduction in air quality.

London’s air pollution remained relatively static, with a drop of 0.16%.

USwitch’s Energy expert Ben Gallizzi tells us how nations can stop increases in air pollution.

He says, “Using energy efficient bulbs and appliances in your home may sound like a small thing, but they’re an easy way to reduce your energy emissions, not to mention your bills!”

Continuing, “Switching to an electric car provides an eco-friendly alternative to traditional fuel-powered vehicles. With lots of high-quality, cost-effective home charging options now available, going electric is easier than ever.”

CapitalCountryAir pollution change (’19-’21)
SarajevoBosnia and Herzegovina-13.63%
SkopjeNorth Macedonia-12.03%
LondonUnited Kingdom-0.16%

READ MORE: Multi-million deal for renewable energy investment in Spain

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