CLAIRO - CLear AIR and Climate Adaptation in Ostrava and other cities
“The Environment and in particular Air Quality is a very serious topic in Ostrava. Project CLAIRO is another of a series of measures that we can test and thanks to which our city can move one step further in this important area. I believe that the results of our efforts will bring positive impact on living standards throughout the Ostrava agglomeration and will be an inspiration for other cities and regions that are facing air pollution.”
Following the establishment of the first ironworks in 1828, Ostrava grew to become one of the largest Czech industrial centers. Despite the restructuring of the city’s industrial base and numerous effective measures that have been taken to improve the air quality in Ostrava (resulting in an almost 90% decrease in pollution), air pollution remains one of the city’s biggest environmental problems.
With regard to measurements of the major pollutants PM10 and PM2.5, analyses have shown that during the period 2005–2014 the legal limit value for the annual mean was often exceeded. A major problem in the entire urban area is benzo(a)pyrene. For many years the legal limit has been exceeded at all locations where concentrations of this pollutant are measured.
In view of the seriousness of this issue, air quality is naturally a key priority for the City.
An in-depth analytical study has shown that the main sources of air pollution in Ostrava are stationary sources (metallurgical production and power generation), household heating sources, and transport. In Ostrava’s case, a fourth major factor is cross-border pollution from the nearby industrial conurbation of Katowice (Poland). The situation in Ostrava is aggravated by local climatic conditions – specifically the occurrence of relatively long periods without wind, leading to protracted inversions in the winter months, which increase concentrations of pollutants regardless of any drop in emissions.
The CLAIRO project principally proposes to reduce air pollution via a living vegetation lab with a verified positive impact on air quality. The project does not address the elimination of pollutant sources.
European cities have already understood the necessity and the irreplaceable role of vegetation in urban areas and have begun to invest in urban greenery. Nevertheless, they very often do not take into account all aspects which influence pollution (such as effects on particular pollutants in relation to the composition of the greenery), and they often do not exploit all existing natural conditions (e.g. airflow or the opportunities presented by increased plant resistance) to maximize the positive impacts of the vegetation.
The objective of the project is to apply and disseminate a comprehensive methodology maximizing the positive impact of urban greenery on air quality, exploiting innovative solutions (including new solutions identified in other countries). (The new solutions will comply fully with European legislation related to genetically modified plants.)
The project will involve the following steps (related to specific implementation packages):
- Measurement and evaluation of data using new-generation sensors
- Application of sophisticated methodology helping to design urban green spaces with the most effective composition and structure in order to reduce air pollution (based on the above data)
- Identification and application of the most effective plants with proven positive impacts on air pollution; existing knowledge (particularly related to trees) will be combined with newly identified and proven global solutions (transferable to local climatic and natural conditions)
- Planting of greenery and essential maintenance, including increased resistance of the plants achieved through natural means
- Monitoring of the living lab with new greenery and its impact on the most polluted district of Ostrava (Radvanice and Bartovice)
- Creation of a platform of trained experts, informed cities and partner companies benefiting from the experience and shared knowledge gained from the living lab
- Transfer of experience to other cities
- Municipality of Ostrava
- Moravian-Silesian Region - regional authority
- Silesian University in Opava - higher education and research institute
- Technical University of Ostrava - higher education and research institute
- Palacky University Olomouc - higher education and research institute
- SOBIC Smart & Open Base for Innovations in European Cities and Regions - higher education and research institute
- Ministry of Regional Development of the Czech Republic - ministry
- Regional Association of Territorial Cooperation of Teschen Silesia - regional organisation
In accordance with the long-term goal, the project will contribute new knowledge to improve the environment and to optimize health and quality of life among citizens in Ostrava as well as in the entire region. One key result of the project will be improved air quality in one part of Ostrava identified as the most polluted district in the city, which is situated in close proximity to a key local source of air pollution (the Arcelor Mittal steelworks). The long-term challenge addressed by the project is to offer other districts and cities new information gained from our living lab (which includes advanced technology); this will inspire other cities to implement their own innovative green solutions and enhance health and quality of life (via improved air quality) among citizens throughout the entire Silesian industrial agglomeration as well as in other Czech and European cities.
Ostrava’s image suffers serious negative impacts as a result of its low air quality, which in turn negatively affects the city’s attractiveness to potential new inhabitants and investors. The project will also raise Ostrava’s profile as a future leader in air quality solutions tested in the real environment (particularly urban greenery with a proven impact on air pollution), which will attract innovative companies in related sectors.
February 2019: Installation of 50 sensors in the area severe air pollution to measure suspended PMx and organic PAU compounds along with NOx, O3, VOC and PAH pollutants. All the substances are monitored with regards to meteorological conditions and factors influencing the growth of plants.
August 2020: Model of dispersion, deposition, capture and resuspension of pollutants will be developed. Modelling will enable the design of the most effective composition and structure of the greenery.
September 2020: Planting of new greenery according to the model.
March 2021: Training of experts on air quality in order to transfer the new methodology developed in the project summarizing details of the measurement, interception and greenery design to other municipalities