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live AQI index
|Air pollution level||Air quality index||Main pollutant|
|Good|| 21* US AQI||PM2.5|
PM2.5 concentration in Buenos Aires air currently meets the WHO annual air quality guideline value
|Open your windows to bring clean, fresh air indoors|
|Enjoy outdoor activities|
|Monday, Jun 13|
Good 30 US AQI
Good 21 US AQI
|Wednesday, Jun 15|
Moderate 61 US AQI
|Thursday, Jun 16|
Good 19 US AQI
|Friday, Jun 17|
Good 13 US AQI
|Saturday, Jun 18|
Good 19 US AQI
|Sunday, Jun 19|
Good 21 US AQI
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Buenos Aires is officially the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires and is the capital and largest city of Argentina. It is located on the western shore of the River Plate (Río de la Plata). A census conducted in 2010 estimated the population of the urban area to be approximately 2,800,000 people but a considerably larger population when looking at the entire metro area. This figure was closer to 15,600,000 inhabitants.
At the beginning of September 2021, Buenos Aires was experiencing a period of “Moderate” air quality with a US AQI figure of 59. This United States Air Quality Index figure is calculated by measuring the levels of six of the most prolific air pollutants. It is then used as a metric when comparing air pollution in other cities. Sometimes records are non-existent for all six pollutants so the level is calculated by using what figures are available. For Buenos Aires, the only recorded figure was that for PM2.5 which was recorded as being 16 µg/m³. This level is just over one and a half times higher than the recommended level of 10 µg/m³ which is the suggested maximum figure by the World Health Organisation (WHO), although no amount of air pollution is considered to be safe.
With the level of air pollution of this size, the advice would be to stay indoors and close windows and doors to prevent the ingress of more polluted air. Those who are sensitive to poor quality air should avoid unnecessary outdoor journeys. If venturing outside is unavoidable, then a good quality particle filtering mask should be worn at all times. The table that is published at the top of this page should help with that decision or download the AirVisual app for constant updates on your mobile device as to the state of the air in real-time.
Air quality can be very changeable as it depends on many variables so it should come as no surprise that the quality of air changes throughout the year, depending on weather conditions.
Having studied the figures released for 2020 by IQAir.com, it can be seen that from January until the end of September, Buenos Aires experienced “Moderate” air quality with figures between 12.1 and 35.4 µg/m³. The exception was the month of February when the air quality was classified as being “Good” with a reading of 10.4 µg/m³. The remaining three months of October through till December achieved the target figure of being 10 µg/m³ or less. This suggestion comes from the World Health Organisation (WHO), as a general guideline as no amount of air pollution is safe. Overall, the cleanest month of the year was December with a reading of just 5 µg/m³. The dirtiest was May with a figure of 22 µg/m³.
Records pertaining to air quality were first kept in 2019 when the annual average figure was 12.4 µg/m³ or “Moderate”. The following year saw a decline with the figure being 14.2 µg/m³. This latest figure could be skewed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to various periods of “lockdown”, many vehicles were no longer used on a daily basis as their drivers were not required to drive to the office. This cut a considerable amount of pollution from the air. Some factories and small production units were also temporarily closed so their emissions were no longer present in the atmosphere.
Many metropolitan areas in the world are affected by widespread air quality problems, Buenos Aires is no exception. The causes of this have much to do with high population and industrial concentrations and the rapid increase in the number of motor vehicles.
Primary pollutants are classed as those that remain in the atmosphere as they were emitted by the source, without changing. For purposes of evaluating air quality, the following are considered: sulphur oxides, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, hydrocarbons and particles.
Secondary pollutants are those that have been subject to chemical changes, or are the product of the reaction of two or more primary pollutants in the atmosphere.
These include photochemical oxidants and some short-lived radicals such as ozone (O3).
Industrial processes can be a major source of pollution which despite certain preventive measures constitute one of the main pollutant sources.
Domestic and industrial combustion is mainly solid fuels (coal) that produce fumes, dust and sulphur oxide.
Motor vehicles whose density in highly urbanized regions, especially due to the various automotive companies in the central commercial districts of Buenos Aires, determine high atmospheric pollution (carbon oxide, lead, nitrogen oxide, solid particles).
As in all cities with a large population, the City of Buenos Aires is exposed to pollutants caused by transport, industrial activity and the activities of the inhabitants. The Air and Noise Monitoring Network will allow the study of street pollution, urban background, exposure of people and regional pollution.
The pollutants currently being monitored are: nitrogen monoxide and dioxide (NO-NO2), carbon monoxide (CO) and atmospheric variables (wind speed and direction, temperature and atmospheric pressure). Particulate matter less than 10 microns (PM10) and ozone (O3) will be added soon. Armed with this information the local authorities can decide how best to tackle the problem and improve the air quality.
Fortunately, Buenos Aires is located on a plain with winds that clean the atmosphere, which prevents pollution from being as serious a problem as it is in other Latin American cities, such as Mexico City, San Pablo or Santiago de Chile.
Exposure to high levels of air pollution can cause a variety of adverse health outcomes. Air pollution can increase the risk of respiratory infections, heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer. Both short-term and long-term exposure to air pollutants have been associated with adverse health impacts. The most severe impacts affect people who are already sick. Children, the elderly and the poor are most susceptible. The most harmful pollutants for health, closely associated with excessive premature mortality, are fine PM2.5 particles that penetrate deep into the lung ducts where they can easily transfer into the bloodstream and travel to all other organs in the body.