How much air pollution does agriculture cause in Lombardy

The impact of agriculture on air quality in Lombardy is comparable to that of industry and transport. This is proven by a study by the Milan Polytechnic.

  • A study by the Polytechnic University of Milan used artificial intelligence to analyze pollution data in Lombardy to different land use.
  • According to the results, the impact agricultural land on the spatial distribution of fine dust concentration is comparable to industry and transport.
  • For this reason, policies should also consider the impact of agriculture in pollution mitigation strategies.

In Lombardy, the influence of agricultural land on the spatial distribution of the concentration of fine particles (PM2.5) is comparable to other much more well-known and studied sources of pollution, such as industrial facilitiesL’urbanized or the road network: this is proven by a study by the Polytechnic University of Milan, published in Chemosphere and carried out as part of the research project D-Dust (Data-driven modeling of partarticulate with satellite technology aid), funded by the Cariplo Foundation.

In Lombardy, agriculture also contributes to the generation of fine dust with an impact comparable to that of industry and transport ©iStock

Agricultural pollution in Lombardy: more intense peaks but limited in time

According to the data found, the influence of agriculture was recorded not only for rural areas of Lombardybut also in the most densely populated areas of the region; it was further found to be correlated with more intense pollution peaks compared to what was measured in industrial and urban areas, but sa limited duration. Among the individual crops analyzed, a negligible influence of paddy fields was noted, while it was more significant for cultivated land other cereals and maize.

Use of artificial intelligence for data analysis

The study has analyzed i satellite data az atmospheric models of the Copernicus program for measuring the concentration of PM2.5 together with open access land use database and the agricultural information system of the Lombardy region. And was used for analysis the innovative Geoai system (Artificial Intelligence of Geomatics and Earth Observation) composed of a three-stage architecture that allows capturing and interpreting spatial dynamics at the local level, thus comparing the effects of different land uses on pollution.

PM2.5, exposure related to cardiopulmonary risks

Air pollution is considered one of them by the UN greater environmental health risks on a global level and its mitigation is addressed in a number of Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda Among all pollutants, one of the most worrying is PM2.5, particles with a diameter of less than 2.5 μm, also because of its. longer residence time in the atmosphere, resulting in increased risk exposure for the population. Exposure that is associated with increased morbidity and mortality from cardiopulmonary disease.

Exposure to PM2.5 is linked to the risk of developing cardiopulmonary diseases ©iStock

According to the authors of the study, the results make it possible to state that i politicians should also take into account agricultural activities decide on alleviation pollution.

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