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Moscow, Russian Federation Summer-time pollution and summer smog problems

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Introduction

Moscow, Russian Federation Summer-time pollution and summer smog problems I. General Characteristics of Moscow city The capital of the Russian Federation, Moscow city is one of the largest urban settlements in the world. With more than 13 million people, Moscow is a center of heavy transportation, remaining industrial works and constant expansion (Demographia 2010). Moscow is subject to moderate continental climate, which provides for some minor pollution reduction due to precipitation patterns and weak winds. Moscow also suffers from peat bog and forest fires that result from dry summers (Federal Portal 2010; Mosecomonitoring 2010; Roshydromet 2010). Generally, Moscow is considered to be one of the most polluted cities in the world due to several characteristics that will be further analyzed in this paper such as smog, temperature inversion and stratification patterns as well as humidity (Federal Portal 2010; Elansky et.al 2007; Gorchakov et al 2006). Moscow has 10 districts, with the most polluted ones located in the center of the city and down to the Southeast region (Lezina 2010; RIA News 2008). According to Figure 1, green areas are environmentally suitable for a living, orange ones are alarming and the red ones show more levels of pollution compared to the other two categories (RIA News 2008). Interestingly, the red regions on the map correlate with the remaining operational factories and heavy traffic of Moscow (Figure 2) (Lezina 2010; Mosecomonitoring 2010; Plaude 2007). Figure 1. Ecological regions of Moscow: green - low levels of pollution, orange - alarming levels of pollution, red - high levels of pollution (RIA News 2008). Ever since Russian Federation emerged from the Soviet Union, the previous trend of building large factories and power plants within the city began to slowly decline (Shehgedanova et al 1999). For example, Moscow used to have many more operational small heat generating power plants compared to now. At the moment, the decrease in operational industrial buildings allowed the remaining factories to start focusing on their emissions and apply end-of-pipe solutions to avoid some of the polluting substances (Elansky et al 2007; Ionov and Timofeev 2009; Mosecomonitoring 2010). ...read more.

Middle

3. HO2+NO=NO2+OH 4. NO2 =(photolysis)=NO+O 5. O+O2=O3 (Stathopolou et al 2008). Apart from this mechanism of O3 production, there are two other mechanisms that add up to O3 presence in the atmosphere: emissions from fossil fuel, peat bog and forest burning that are very common in summer for Moscow as well as occasional migration of stratospheric ozone into the troposphere. These emissions are trapped within the troposphere due to the "heat island effect" of urban settlement such as Moscow (Mosecomonitoring 2010; Stathopoulou et al 2008; Zvyagintsev 2008). According to Figure 5, there is a positive correlation between O3 concentration and solar radiation as well as increasing temperature in case of Moscow (Zvyagintsev 2008). As the temperature rises, the O3 concentrations grow accordingly, yet the O3 concentrations drop before the temperature reaches its maximum in July. This can be explained by a crude generalization of mean monthly temperatures and ozone concentration, where for the period of 2002-2009 there were several very hot and very cold summers. Figure 5. Positive correlation between the mean monthly temperature fluctuations and mean monthly O3 concentrations. (Lokoshenko and Elansky 2006; Mosecomonitoring 2010; Roshydromet 2010; Moscow Climate 2010) As for the effects of the atmospheric pressure, so far no studies have been produced for the Moscow city. It might be possible, however, that lowering of the atmospheric pressure might result in increased mechanism of stratospheric O3 migration into the troposphere. Additionally, low atmospheric pressure combined with low wind activity might create an additional stimulus for increased O3 formation given the smog presence. These assumptions, however, are not supported by evidence and further research will be needed to investigate the relationship between O3 and atmospheric pressure. Another substance that has an adverse effect on the rate of O3 formation is aerosols (Elansky et al 2007; Flynn et al 2009; Khaikin et al 2006; Stathopoulou et al 2008; Stulov et al 2010; Zvyaginstev 2008). ...read more.

Conclusion

This is crucial for those affected by bronchitis or asthma (Ionov and Timofeev 2009; Mosecomonioring 2010; Shahgedanova et al 1999). CO mimics the hemoglobin structure and prevents the red blood cells from collecting oxygen, which could be lethal. Formaldehyde can cause allergies and in large concentrations in can lead to asthma (EPA 2011a). PM10 due to their size can reach the lungs through inhalation and penetrate into the cardiovascular system leading to associated diseases and even death due to poisoning (Khaikin et al 2006). As for O3 it is uncertain as to whether it causes long-term damages to the respiratory system, yet its acute effects involve coughing, irritation and potentially asthma (EPA 2011b). All of these pollutants show damaging effects on heart and central nervous system, which could lead to irreversible damages if a person is exposed to toxic chemicals for too long. Also, there is a high risk that these substances might be carcinogenic (EPA 2011a; EPA 2011b). Thus, the two episodes of severe smog events that were observed in Moscow during 2002 and 2010 could have a major damaging impact on Muscovites' immune system overall. As for the age group of 75+, the statistics are needed to be gathered in order to show whether mortality rates and disease outbreaks are related with the heavy smog events. Further studies will need to be carried out in order to assess the level of damage that these events might have caused. VII. Recommendations The main recommendation is to check the credibility of the available Mosecomonitoring and Roshydromet data as well as calibrate the monitoring stations in order to have replicable data. This is crucial for atmospheric research since a large variation of data will result in misinterpretation of the current situation of overall pollution and mislead the decision-makers. Also, it would be necessary to gather statistical data on health impacts of the smog events, monitor the amount of calls to the hospitals and assess the general health of the newborns after this summer of 2010 in order to establish a magnitude of health damage produced by smog effects. ...read more.

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