JCU Urban Ecology Class Undertakes Studies on Air Visibility in Rome

Professor Kneller’s Urban Ecology Class

Professor Kneller’s Urban Ecology Class

JCU students of Professor Kneller’s Urban Ecology class went to the top of the Terrazza delle Quadrighe, of the Vittoriano, to get a firsthand panoramic view of air pollution, focusing on the PM10s (particulate matter less than 10 microns in diameter).

In this outdoor lab, students could see variations in air transparency, and how haze increased over areas with high traffic—motor vehicles (including scooters) are the number one contributor to PM10 pollution in Rome. Students compared what they could see, with the analysis of air quality from ARPALAZIO (Agenzia Regionale per la Protezione Ambientale del Lazio, the regional agency responsible for environmental protection).

ARPALAZIO scientists predicted PM10 concentrations of 25 to 50 micrograms per cubic meter, for this day in October. The EU has an air quality standard of 50 micrograms per cubic meter for PM10s, set for a 24 hour period, with 35 exceedances allowed per year. Recent attention has focused on asthma and cancer risks associated with PM air pollution, and thus cities struggle to develop policies which will reduce sources—in Rome’s case, motor vehicles.