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On June 9, Mosekomonitoring celebrates its 20th anniversary. Read the article on how the ecological situation in Moscow has changed in recent years.

Can city dwellers influence the state of the air, how improving the environmental friendliness and energy efficiency of municipal services improve the environmental situation, and why did Moscow choose electric buses? Polina Zakharova, Director, told about this and much more. Mosecomonitoring.

For 20 years, specialists of the environmental institution have been monitoring urban ecology. As a result, today Moscow is included in Top 30 Air Quality Capitalsahead of Paris, Vienna and Berlin.

Accurate data and strict control

– How have environmental observations changed in recent years?

– There have been fundamental changes. We started with several automatic air pollution control stations in the Central District of Moscow. Now it is a developed network that embraces all natural environments – air, water, soil and others.

It is the last 10 years that have allowed us to make a qualitative breakthrough. 25 new atmospheric monitoring stations were created. The old stations were modernized and re-equipped. The number of measuring devices increased from 250 to more than 600. A monitoring system was created from scratch in the Troitsky and Novomoskovsky administrative areas. It is based on the same principles as throughout Moscow: modern equipment, scientific methods, and a reasoned approach to the selection of observation sites are used.

In 2012, mobile air pollution control stations appeared. They are needed if there is a suspicion that environmental legislation is being violated in a particular area. You can track the indicators, identify the violation and bring the culprit to justice.

We have three new mobile air pollution control laboratories. There is a round-the-clock environmental monitoring service: in real time, a mobile laboratory can be sent to the request of a resident to take the necessary measurements on the spot. The acoustic service has significantly expanded – it responds to requests from residents related to the noise level. Most often, these specialists are contacted at night.

In addition, Moscow has created its own geological service and a monitoring system for the bottom and shores of water protection zones. The analytical laboratory of Mosekomonitoring was also equipped with new equipment. Thanks to this, the range of substances that we research has increased. Now we get four times more data, although the laboratory staff has not grown.

– What is the ecological situation in Moscow today? What do the instruments say?

– I can say with confidence that the state of the natural environment in Moscow as a whole complies with all the established standards. Over the past 10 years, Moscow has come a long way in solving environmental problems. If we are talking about atmospheric air, the content of certain pollutants has decreased by 1.3–2.7 times. This is a very good result. The content of carbon monoxide decreased 2.3 times, nitrogen oxide – 2.2 times, fine suspended particles – 1.4 times, nitrogen dioxide – 1.3 times, sulfur dioxide – 1.7 times. The concentration of some substances, such as carbon monoxide, is minimal, an order of magnitude lower than the maximum permissible values.

Positive dynamics is also observed in the state of water bodies. The water in the Moskva River, the main artery of the capital, has become 1.5 times cleaner in 10 years.

Of course, there are times when enterprises violate environmental legislation. This is being fought within the framework of state environmental supervision, there are systems for identifying and prosecuting. If we talk about atmospheric air, there are some days when meteorological conditions strongly influence its state. But in general, air, soil and water meet all environmental standards.

Cumulative effect

– How did you manage to reduce the amount of pollutants?

– These achievements are the result of the implementation of many city programs. Emissions continue to decline despite the fact that the city is being built and developed. The ecology was influenced by the reform of the industrial complex, the modernization of the thermal power industry and enterprises, the introduction of an energy saving system, the greening of the transport system and the communal complex.

Manufacturing in the capital is becoming not only innovative, but also more environmentally friendly. New cleaning systems in industrial plants are capable of absorbing more harmful substances and, therefore, less air pollution. At the enterprises of the Moscow energy complex, steam and gas installations have been introduced and measures are being taken to save energy. This also reduced emissions.

The most important factor in improving air quality is Moscow’s new transport policy. The less cars are in traffic jams, the less emissions into the atmosphere. It is important to develop public transport, especially off-street, electrified: metro, Moscow Central Diameters, Moscow Central Circle. Citizens are ditching cars, hence reducing traffic and emissions.

Gradually, the city is switching to the use of electric buses. Avoiding diesel fuel is an important environmental measure and compliance with all global trends. At the moment, Moscow is the number one city in Europe for the use of electric buses. According to expert estimates, replacing one Euro-4 diesel bus with an electric bus leads to a decrease in emissions of pollutants into the atmosphere by 260.5 kilograms per year, and one Euro-5 bus – by 189 kilograms per year. The movement in the city of non-environmentally friendly types of freight transport is limited. In addition, in 2016, Moscow was the first in the country to switch to the use of Euro-5 ecological class motor fuel.

There is even an ecological effect from the creation and subsequent care of lawns – they retain dust, which is carried by the wind, and reduce the intake of fine suspended particles PM10 into the air. On a city scale, all measures together have a great effect.

– What influences the Moscow ecology the most?

– It’s not such a simple question. According to statistics, approximately 90 percent of emissions are associated with transport, 10 percent – with industrial enterprises. But everything is not so simple. Emissions from vehicles are so-called low sources, they are localized near highways. And emissions from enterprises are high hot springs, their area of ​​distribution is much wider. For each territory, the indicators must be assessed separately. But I must say that gross emissions for 10 years in the city as a whole have decreased 2.6 times. This is a very good indicator. Our air pollution monitoring stations record a steady improvement in performance.

Moscow’s environmental policy is highly appreciated at the international level Moscow entered the 30 best capitals in terms of air quality, ahead of Paris, Vienna, Berlin

Ecology as a way of life

– Sustainability has become a fashion trend. To what extent are Muscovites interested in environmental issues?

– Residents of Moscow are interested in ecology, follow the readings of our stations. From the point of view of the World Health Organization, this is one of the mechanisms of influence on reducing the risks of morbidity – people know about the state of the air, choose routes, places for walking.

Moscow’s environmental performance can be checked in real time on our website

– Can Muscovites influence the ecological situation?

– Today there is a fashionable term “responsible consumption” – it is very correct. This is when people prefer public transport over personal, sort waste, choose equipment with a high energy efficiency class. All of this affects emissions. And we can do our part to make them fewer.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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