This week in Valencia, thirty experts from around Spain will discuss improvements to air quality to reduce the impact of pollution on people’s health.

Seminario en Bruselas sobre la calidad del aire en las ciudades europeas - Libro Energy and environment

Representatives from the institutional, academic and business sectors will appear in the capital of Turia from tomorrow until Thursday to cover the various perspectives of atmospheric pollution, which affects nine in ten people living in the city, according to the WHO.

‘Technical scientific bases to improve air quality in Spain’ is the title of the technology forum starting tomorrow, Tuesday 11 June, in Valencia. It is being held by the Naturgy Foundation, the Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo, the Valencia Regional Government and the Institute for Environmental Diagnosis and Water Studies at CSIC (IDAEA-CSIC).

Air pollution represents a significant environmental risk to people’s health and reduced levels of air pollution can also lead to a direct reduction of cerebrovascular deaths, lung cancer and chronic and acute lung diseases. This is according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), who state that only one in ten people live in a city that meets the guideline air quality parameters.

There are several proposals for trying to reduce urban pollution, depending on the features of each city. Governments, companies and the science community are making progress in adopting measures, but the causes, measures and actions required for tackling this problem affecting our cities must be analysed further. That is why this specialised national forum is important.

The aim of these events is to analyse the current causes of low air quality in our cities and the negative effects on human health. Experts across Spain will discuss the current situation and will share the plans for improvement and action proposals they are developing. The scheduled talks will also cover how to make progress in creating emission inventories, and specific issues such as the ozone and the burning of biomass.

The Managing Director of the Naturgy Foundation, María Eugenia Coronado, said: “With these events we are trying to shine a spotlight on a problem, bad air quality, whose adverse effects are a reality, and to find a solution for this we all need to act.”

Economic consequences

In addition to affecting health, bad air quality also affects the economy. According to the World Bank, it is estimated that total welfare loss for Spain was $49.33 billion in 2013, amounting to 3.4% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This data was collected in the ‘La calidad del aire en las ciudades. Un reto mundial’ publication by the Naturgy Foundation, whose coordinator, Xavier Querol, research professor at the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), will also take part in the event in Valencia.

Other experts talking during this three-day event include Maj Britt Larka, Deputy General Director of Air Quality and Industrial Environment, in the Ministry for the Ecological Transition (MITECO); Alberto Campos García, director of the Programme and General Director of Biodiversity and Environmental Quality in MITECO; Joan Piquer Huerga, Managing Director of Climate Change and Air Quality in the Valencia Regional Government; Eliseo Monfort, professor of Chemical Engineering at the Universitat Jaume I; and Marta García Vivanco, researcher at CIEMAT.

The event will take place in the function room at the Ciutat Administrativa 9 d’Octubre – Edificio B at the Valencia Regional Government on 11, 12 and 13 June with morning and afternoon sessions, except the opening day, which will start at 3 pm.