About this Project

 

The Ministry of Environment air quality monitoring network consists of 12 ambient air quality monitoring stations, distributed as follows:

  • 7 stations located in Amman (GAM, KAC, KHG, MAH, TAB, UNI, and YAR).

  • 3 stations in Zarqa (HAJ, MAS, and ABK/HH).

  • 2 stations in Irbid (HSC, and BAR).

 

The network reference station was located at the King Hussein Gardens in Amman. The locations of the measurement stations were chosen based on a preliminary mapping of the 3 cities and the monitoring sites were chosen in a way that ensures a fair and comprehensive representation of anthropogenic activities throughout the three cities.

 

Thus there are fixed stations that continuously monitor air quality in urban areas, traffic dominated sites, and industrial zones.

 

The criteria air pollutants monitored in the stations included:

  • Particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter ≤ 10 microns (PM10)

  • Carbon monoxide (CO)

  • Sulfur dioxide (SO2)

  • Nitrogen dioxide (NO2)

  • Ozone (O3)

 

The Pollutants

 

 

Particulate Matters (PM10)

 

PM10 Particulates are inhalable aerosols that are less than 10μm in diameter; the smaller the particle, the further they can penetrate into the lungs which could cause several health problems especially for people with existing respiratory conditions, such as asthma and bronchitis. Particles can also alter immune systems and thus reduce the body’s ability to resist and fight infection. Recent epidemiological research have also pointed that inhalable particulates could lead to high blood pressure, strokes, and lung cancer, and thereby increase annual mortality rates.

 

Nitrogen dioxide (NO2)

Nitrogen dioxide is a nasty-smelling gas. The main effect of breathing in raised levels of nitrogen dioxide is the increased likelihood of respiratory problems. Nitrogen dioxide inflames the lining of the lungs, and it can reduce immunity to lung infections. This can cause problems such as wheezing, coughing, colds, flu and bronchitis.

Increased levels of nitrogen dioxide can have significant impacts on people with asthma because it can cause more frequent and more intense attacks. Children with asthma and older people with heart disease are most at risk.

 

Sulfur Dioxide SO2

 

Sulfur dioxide (SO2) is a colorless, reactive air pollutant with a strong odor. This gas can be a threat to human health, animal health, and plant life.

Sulfur dioxide irritates the skin and mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. High concentrations of SO2 can cause inflammation and irritation of the respiratory system, especially during heavy physical activity. The resulting symptoms can include pain when taking a deep breath, coughing, throat irritation, and breathing difficulties. High concentrations of SO2 can affect lung function, worsen asthma attacks, and worsen existing heart disease in sensitive groups. This gas can also react with other chemicals in the air and change to a small particle that can get into the lungs and cause similar health effects.

 

Carbon monoxide CO

 

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous colorless gas that restricts the blood’s ability to transport oxygen to cells and organs, leading to suffocation at high doses.

Breathing CO can cause headache, dizziness, vomiting, and nausea. If CO levels are high enough, you may become unconscious or die. Exposure to moderate and high levels of CO over long periods of time has also been linked with increased risk of heart disease. People who survive severe CO poisoning may suffer long-term health problems

Ozone (O3)

The ozone molecule consists of three oxygen atoms that are bounded together (triatomic oxygen, or O3). Unlike the form of oxygen that is a major constituent of air (diatomic oxygen, or O2), Ozone is a powerful oxidizing agent. Ozone reacts with biological membranes, such as those present in the linings of the human lungs and plant leaves, which can damage living cells. Exposure to Ozone has been associated with several adverse health effects, such as aggravation of asthma and decreased lung function.

 

The majority of tropospheric Ozone is formed when nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), undergo photochemical reactions in air in the presence of sunlight. Thus NO2, CO, and VOCs are called Ozone precursors. Motor vehicle exhaust, industrial emissions, and chemical solvents are the major anthropogenic sources of ozone precursors. Although these precursors often originate in urban areas, winds can carry NO2 hundreds of kilometers, causing ozone formation to occur in less populated regions as well.

Photo of a Monitoring Station

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