The winner of “Ecoquest” in 2020 from the project “Clean Air for Ukraine” Pavlo Romaniv shared his thoughts on public monitoring.
– Where do you live and why did you want to win a public monitoring station?
– I live in Kryvyi Rih, where a large number of industrial enterprises are distributed throughout the city. Therefore, under different winds, air pollution from many sources spreads through the city in different vectors, creating a rather complex picture. Two years ago, public monitoring stations in Kryvyi Rih began installing the Clean Air for Ukraine project with the support of the Enough Poisoning Kryvyi Rih movement. There were less than a dozen stations in total, but over time only six remained, which was not enough to visualize the pollution of a city with such a large area. The stations were good, with gas meters, but the nearest ones were quite far from my area. I wanted to have my own station. I am an engineer and I am interested in science-intensive technologies. So in December, I took part in an eco-quest, answered questions about industrial pollution – and won the Air Fresh Max station.
– Are you satisfied with the measurement results?
– Yes, I have been collecting monitoring results for several years and I can clearly see the correlation between neighboring stations and pollution vectors. And with the new station, I now finally see the effects of smaller pollutants nearby. A few years ago, a new factory appeared near my district and the old one started working again. And since the pollution situation has changed a lot, it was very important to have a station nearby. There are also unexpected effects of pollution from those areas where there are allegedly no large enterprises, but such effects, unfortunately, can be monitored and reliably verified only if the number of public monitoring stations continues to grow.
– Why is the public monitoring system extremely important?
– When monitoring stations were just starting to be installed, experts noticed a low correlation when comparing the public system with the municipal one. And there were even suspicions that the data of the city systems, which were officially published, were falsified. We talked about it a lot in public, and over time the situation improved. Of course, the data of public stations are unofficial and cannot be evidence in court. I understand that inexpensive sensors are not accurate enough. However, I have long used the results of measurements of public networks EcoCity and SaveDnipro. And I can conclude that they reliably warn about air pollution, moreover, in real time, with complete coincidence with visual observations, which is not done by the municipal monitoring system. So my family and I know when it’s best to put off walking outside or not open the window.
Our emissions in Kryvyi Rih are very well visible visually, the atmosphere becomes noticeably opaque, the air has a characteristic persistent odor, and last year they also cause allergic dryness of mucous membranes.
But not all emissions are gas-dust: gas emissions do not propagate as dust, and depending on the wind direction, only the gas part can come when the main gas-dust train passes tangentially to the observation site. And there are emissions from other companies, there is a great variety of everyone. Many emissions are simply unaware of to the public, as they are accustomed to focusing on smog and odor.
I would like to add that our own public monitoring station is a great and real opportunity for the younger generation to take part in science: study ecology, engineering, programming, get acquainted with analytics and big-data science – and these are some of the most important areas of human development in the future. So if it is difficult to buy your own station – you should think about the common cost for the community to have its own station, or now there is a great opportunity – to take part in the EcoQuiz and win!
– Will you take part in the EcoQuiz this year?
– No, many people and cities need stations, and now let others be lucky.
– What advice would you give to those who want to win their own monitoring station?
– The answers to the quiz questions were not difficult for me as an activist. But if you know little about industrial pollution, read the information on the site cleanair.org.ua.
– I’ll tell you a secret, this year there will be several waves of EcoQuiz and draws, so the chances of getting the station are higher. Good luck!