The Air-Quality Committee aims to work together with the sector's organisations and players on pollution problems in the city.
The municipal government uses this cross-cutting organisation to respond to the problem of atmospheric pollution in the city. The aim behind the Committee is to analyse the city’s air quality situation, propose and develop corrective measures, inform and raise awareness and monitor; and to analyse the situation regarding air-pollution episodes.
The Committee is made up of all the players involved: municipal services, municipal groups and various bodies and organisations from the economic, social, green, mobility, health and scientific sectors. The municipal government's necessary involvement with the general public and its social players allows for a multiplying effect that can make a major contribution towards achieving a healthier city.
The Barcelona Metropolitan Area and the Catalan regional government are also invited to take part in the committee as a means of boosting inter-authority unity in the fight to combat air pollution.
The Committee has created a Scientific and Expert Working Group to develop the protocol for high-pollution episodes and determine the strategy for the structural measures to be applied in the city.
The Working Group is made up of experts from:
- The Higher Scientific Research Council (CSIC)
- Institute for Global Heal (ISGlobal)
- Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) and Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC)
- Barcelona Public Health Agency
- Urban Ecology (Environmental Quality, Mobility and Infrastructures)
Improving air quality in Barcelona has been one of the main environmental challenges the city has had to live with since the end of the 1970s, for which various action strategies have had to be defined in order to cut emissions of local pollutants. The city has already overcome several of its local pollutant challenges, by reducing, for example, lead and sulphur dioxide levels through improved technologies and implemented legislation.
The City Council now has an analysis centre for measuring the presence of pollutants in the air: the Environmental Monitoring Services Department at the Barcelona Public Health Service (ASPB), which runs a number of stations on the Catalan Air-Pollution Monitoring and Forecasting Network (XVPCA). Barcelona has a total of 11 network stations through which the Barcelona Public Health Agency produces annual reports on the development of the concentration of pollutants in the air.
Barcelona today, as with other European cities such as Paris, London, Berlin and Rotterdam, exceeds the annual mean concentration limits for NO2 set by the EU for protecting health (since 2010 the European annual mean maximum concentration limits have been 40 µg/m and PM10). This situation requires action strategies to be adopted at all levels (local, national, state and/or European) to improve the air quality in cities and their metropolitan areas.
Barcelona City Council has given a new impetus to the fight against atmospheric pollution under a Government Measure and Programme of measures to combat atmospheric pollution in Barcelona (November 2016) which includes structural measures for reducing mean levels of NO2 and PM10 as well as specific measures for tackling high-pollution episodes and advancing towards a healthier city.