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Air Pollution in the City of Buenos Aires

At the moment, there are very limited data that describe the current and historic situation of air quality in the City of Buenos Aires . This makes it difficult to develop an air quality monitoring system and to define mitigation measures for areas with high air pollution . This case study tries to develop a solution to the problem of urban atmospheric pollution  that does not rely on historical air pollution data. In our city, as in many other big cities in developing countries, automotive transportation  is considered the main source of emission of pollutants.

As a first stage in the study of pollution in our city, in the Research Department of University of Belgrano we developed a static model in 1995 (Zellner, 1995 ; Zellner et al., 1996), to evaluate areas of different risk levels of atmospheric pollution. Risk was calculated with an index which combines variables of urban topography  and meteorological conditions , both related to the atmospheric dilution capacity in urban spaces . A potential contamination index  was developed, which combined risk as defined above with a variable for emission of contaminants. This model was applied to a sample area, called Corredor Bartolomé Mitre . The indices provide a basis for the siting of an air pollution monitoring network and for the interpretation of the collected data. They can also work as a tool to evaluate the impacts of traffic variation and of new proposals for urban planning on air quality.

As a second stage, we have incorporated dynamics by means of models used in AirWare , which are based on USEPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) models. The results of these exercises are shown in Demo I for point sources (thermal power stations) and Demo II for line and area sources (traffic). To achieve this, we adjusted the meteorological and emission conditions to the city of Buenos Aires.


Zellner, M; 1995. Identificación de Areas de Riesgo de Contaminación Atmosférica en la Ciudad de Buenos Aires. Seminario de Licenciatura, Universidad C.A.E.C.E., Buenos Aires.

Zellner, M; Capurro, A. F. ; Jankilevich, S. S. ; 1996. Identificación de Areas de Riesgo de Contaminación Atmosférica en la Ciudad de Buenos Aires. Serie Programa de Investigación y Desarrollo Ambiental Nº 10, Universidad de Belgrano, Buenos Aires.

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