The Hydrometeorology and Monitoring Center conducts atmospheric air quality research on a daily basis.
Recently, the center presented information on atmospheric air quality in Yerevan in the period from February 23 to March 1, in which it was noted that the dust content exceeded the permissible limit concentration.
Zarkerak.am spoke with Gayane Shahnazaryan, Deputy Director of the Center for Hydrometeorology and Monitoring of the Ministry of Environment, Gayane Shahnazaryan, in order to understand what causes the large amount of dust in the air in the capital. In the conversation with us, he said that dust pollution in Yerevan, in general, is high not only during the above-mentioned period, but in general.
"We have seen an increase in the last 5 years, except for 2020-2021, when due to covid, the movement of vehicles and the works carried out in the mining industry slowed down somewhat. In the atmospheric air, we have an increase not only of dust, but also of nitrogen dioxide. In terms of other elements and particles, the change is not drastic," says Gayane Shahnazaryan.
Referring to the causes of air pollution with dust, the deputy director of the Center for Hydrometeorology and Monitoring of SNOC singles out some of them:
"One of the causes of dust pollution in Yerevan is the existing non-metallic mining industry, from which the dust is spread in the capital by the wind. The next reason is construction: a large volume of construction is underway in Yerevan, and as a result of the transportation and use of construction materials, improper storage of construction materials at construction sites, dust is spread in the air from there through the wind. One of the causes of dust pollution in the capital is the lack of greenery. Green areas should be increased to clean, filter and preserve the microflora of the city's air," says Gayane Shahnarzaryan and emphasizes that if there were many vegetated areas and gardens, they would act as filters for the generated dust.
He also singles out the large landfills in Yerevan, which also have an impact on the atmospheric air.
Referring to the existence of another type of fine dust, the deputy director of the SNOC emphasizes that, although we do not see it, there are many alarms based on various satellite images, which, of course, have some reliability, but not 100 percent accuracy.
“It's the very fine dust that comes from vehicle exhausts. It has a negative effect on human health. Of course, we know the reasons for this: traffic jams, presence of quite a large amount of transport in the unit area, the main way to solve it is to have good public transport and minimize the number of cars. And, just the quality of cars. the use of new cars is few in our country and there are a large number of old cars that do not have appropriate filters (catalysts), as a result of which there is a lot of fine dust in the atmospheric air of Yerevan city," says Gayane Shahnazaryan.
Turning to other settlements of the republic, where the dust content in the air is also higher than normal, Shahnazaryan singles out two main polluted settlements.
"If we consider the following polluted cities, we have dust pollution in Ararat, Hrazdan, because cement factories operate in those cities, as a result of which, unlike other cities, we have emissions from industry. Granted, it's not constant, but we have days that are quite superior. For example, in the city of Ararat on February 20-23, we had an excess of dust, approximately 2-3 times," says Shahnazaryan.
Regarding how to deal with the phenomenon of air pollution by dust, the Deputy Director of the Center for Hydrometeorology and Monitoring of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine emphasizes that, first of all, they must be consistent in order to maintain the norms in the construction works.
"Environmental protection and subsoil inspection body carries out very strict control, fines are applied for detected cases. However, we should not rely on the work of the inspectorate. a person should think about his surroundings when carrying out any activity. In addition, the next important preventive measure is the increase of vegetation areas in the city of Yerevan, without which it is not possible to correct this situation," emphasizes Shahnazaryan.
Victoria Burnazyan, the vice-president of "Ecolur" information NGO, also states that the main source of air pollution in Yerevan is the more than 20 non-metallic mines operating in Yerevan, the ongoing construction, eroded lands, and the lack of green areas.
Victoria Burnazyan draws attention to the fact that the content of dust in the air contains a number of elements that are dangerous for humans.
"We saw that our hydrometeorology and monitoring center has been publishing the metal content in the dust for several years now, and there is a whole bunch of chemical elements here. Copper, nickel, molybdenum have the highest density, there is also lead, titanium, chromium, arsenic, cobalt and a number of other elements that are dangerous for health," Burnazyan emphasizes.
According to him, great efforts should be made to create green spaces, in addition, strict control works should be implemented.
"Control works are being carried out, but as we can see, the results are not satisfactory. Control should be implemented to ensure that all norms are observed during construction and mining. There should be trees near the mines, which should protect the city so that the dust does not fall on the city, the buffer zone should be completely greened, there should be strict control so that there are no violations and we can solve this problem to some extent," he says. The vice-president of "Ekolur" information NGO.
In a conversation with Zarkerak.am, associate professor of the Department of Hygiene and Ecology of YSUU Kristina Vardanyan says that according to WHO data, 7 million people die annually in the world as a result of air pollution.
According to the expert, air pollution can contribute to the development of diseases of the respiratory system, malignant neoplasms, allergic diseases, birth defects, and it is also dangerous for pregnant women, it can affect the development of the fetus, and later on the health of the child. And according to WHO data, air pollution plays a major role in 25 percent of deaths caused by cardiovascular diseases.
"Recently, work was carried out in our department, which documented that the burden of malignant neoplasms in Yerevan increased by 65 percent, and this is definitely one of the problems that is related to the quality of the air pool," says Kristina Vardanyan and emphasizes that, unfortunately, if we can protect ourselves from many things, we cannot protect ourselves from the miserable state of the air basin today.
According to him, substances entering the respiratory system have the greatest effect on the body, because they enter the blood immediately.
According to the associate professor of the Department of Hygiene and Ecology of YSU, the content of PM2.5 particles, fine dust, is also high in Yerevan, and these are the most dangerous, because they pass through the entire respiratory system without being recognized and reach the lower parts of the lungs, cause inflammation and directly into the blood. are absorbed. Kristina Vardanyan emphasizes that serious work should be done at the state level to free the air basin from such pollution.
As for personal protection, the specialist recommends using air humidifiers at home. Constant wet cleaning of apartments should be done because the air pool is constantly polluted. In addition, you can have different houseplants in the room, which will also perform an air pool cleaning job.