04 Jun 2019

Venue: Air Quality Monitoring Station | Rue Necker

Organization: Geneva Environment Network

On the eve of the World Environment Day, the Geneva community was invited to discover how an air quality monitoring station works, and the types of the transboundary initiatives that have been developed to improve air quality.

World Environment Day 2019

On 5 June 2019, World Environment Day will focus on the theme of air pollution — a call for action to combat one of the greatest environmental emerging challenges of our time.
World Environment Day invites us all to consider how we can make changes in our daily lives to reduce air pollution, which in turn can both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and benefit people’s health.

Often you can’t even see it, but air pollution is everywhere and affects your health from head to toe. With every breath, you are probably sucking in tiny particles that attack your lungs, heart and brain.

Nine out of ten people worldwide are exposed to levels of air pollutants that exceed World Health Organization safe levels. Around seven million people worldwide die prematurely each year from air pollution, 5.6 million deaths are from noncommunicable diseases and 1.5 million from pneumonia. Air pollution causes a host of other problems, including illness and lower IQs. Beyond causing respiratory diseases, air pollution is a major cause of heart attacks, lung cancer and stroke in people.

It doesn’t just impact human health, it also impacts global warming, economic growth and our natural environment. Air pollution decreases the oxygen supply in our oceans, making it harder for plants to grow and as such, contributes to climate change.

The good news is that air pollution is largely avoidable and its negative consequences are preventable. Solutions are known and can be implemented. The world needs to act now.

Air Quality in Geneva

In Geneva, for several decades the air quality has not been good enough: Some pollutants’ concentrations periodically exceed the limits prescribed by the law and can hurt people’s health. Nevertheless, encouraging results have been noticed in recent years. This consolidates the implementation of measures targeting the sources of pollution.

How is air pollution monitored in Geneva?

The air quality of the canton of Geneva is constantly monitored by means of measuring instruments. These are located in the diverse monitoring stations, which locations were chosen according to specific criteria linked to the particularities of the canton of Geneva. These criteria are the following:

  • Population density
  • Fixed and mobile pollution sources
  • Regional weather

Currently, 4 fixed monitoring stations are active in the canton of Geneva. The one on rue Necker, which we invite you to visit, is one of these.

Air Quality in the “Great Geneva”

PACT’AIR : a unique transboundary agreement in Europe for air quality in Grand Geneva.

Since 2017, Grand Geneva and its Swiss and French partners work on the execution of a memorandum on air quality for the French-Vaud-Geneva region. It involves the sharing of best practices from both side of the border. It was officially signed during the European Assises on energy transition on 30 January 2018. This plan must enable us to reach the ambitious goals which have been set by the territorial project 2016-2030: A reduction of 18% of Particulate Matter (PM10) and of 50% of nitrogen oxide (NOx) over the period 2005-2030.